Daily Real Clear Politics Polling numbers 2/28/13….

Thursday, February 28
Race/Topic   (Click to Sort) Poll Results Spread
President Obama Job Approval FOX News Approve 46, Disapprove 47 Disapprove +1
President Obama Job Approval Gallup Approve 51, Disapprove 43 Approve +8
President Obama Job Approval Rasmussen Reports Approve 51, Disapprove 48 Approve +3
Congressional Job Approval FOX News Approve 16, Disapprove 77 Disapprove +61

from realclearpolitics…..

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Last minute Sequester bills do NOT make it thru the Senate…

Here we go folks…..

The Democrats and the President are playing hardball hoping to get the Republican’s to agree to tax increases as the time closes on ACTUAL sequester cuts, layoffs and shut downs…

….from the Hill….

Congressional leaders say there is no Plan B and that the sequester, as the cuts are known in Washington, will be phased in over the next seven months. Hopes that a government-funding measure could become a vehicle to avert some of the cuts have also faded.

If Congress fails to freeze the cuts, a total of $110 billion in spending reductions to domestic discretionary and defense programs will have been implemented in the fiscal year that began last October and ends on Sept. 30.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the cuts could cost 750,000 jobs this year.

Following the votes, President Obama said Senate Republicans voted “to let the entire burden of deficit reduction fall squarely on the middle class.

“Today, Republicans in the Senate faced a choice about how to grow our economy and reduce our deficit. And instead of closing a single tax loophole that benefits the well-off and well-connected, they chose to cut vital services for children, seniors, our men and women in uniform and their families,” Obama said in a statement.

Obama will meet with congressional leaders from both parties and chambers on Friday at the White House to discuss the next steps for addressing the sequester.

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said he will tell Obama in blunt terms that Republicans will not accept additional tax increases after voting for a $620 billion tax hike on New Year’s Day.

“Look: the American people will simply not accept replacing spending cuts agreed to by both parties with tax hikes. And I plan to make all of this clear to the president when I meet with him tomorrow,” McConnell said….

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Is the US Quietly running out of option’s before raiding Iran?

A good piece from Time Magazine which goes into how the President has been able to put off military responses by the Israeli’s and The US…..

The argument within the Obama Administration has been between containment and direct action….

The discussion has lasted for a while from Defense Secretary Gates, to Panetta and will now be on Hagel’s lap….

While cyber attack’s from the US and Israel has brought time….

The author of the piece points out to small things that have slipped below the radar….

A silent US build up AROUND the borders of Iran that has been happening….

One thing is evident….

Iran isn’t stopping for anything….

They want a nuclear bomb…

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was publicly threatening to attack Iranian nuclear sites. If Netanyahu went ahead, the U.S. could be dragged into a war on Israel’s terms, long before options to avoid conflict had been exhausted. Under fire from Republicans for being a fair-weather friend to Israel, Obama had scheduled a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and an interview with an American reporter widely read in Israel. The question in the Situation Room that day: What would happen if Obama publicly committed to a war to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon?

Obama had never made such a promise in public, and he thought it would help persuade Netanyahu to step back from the brink. But by speaking out, he would be putting the U.S.’s credibility on the line in the global effort to prevent Tehran from getting a weapon. If he promised to go to war and didn’t follow through, other nations in the region, distrusting American assurances of protection, would start their own nuclear programs. Obama said that he was aware of the risk but that he wanted to draw the line in public anyway. On March 4, 2012, Obama told the AIPAC crowd, “I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests.” In his interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic, he said, “As President of the United States, I don’t bluff.”

One year later, Iran has yet to call it. Even as Obama has committed to using military force to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, he has worked hard to avoid war. Attacking Iran’s nuclear sites could cost American military and civilian lives, set off a wave of terrorist attacks, spike oil prices and sour the U.S.’s relations with Muslims worldwide. So Obama has tried to slow or derail the Iranian program through a combination of diplomacy, sanctions and covert action. He has succeeded in pushing the timeline for war back at least 12 months.

But eventually time will run out….

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Student Loan Debt Nearly Tripled In 8 Years….

Anybody surprised at this?

I ain’t….

A LOT of us have student loans….

and THAT much debt is NEVER gonna be paid off….

The growth in student debt is due to a combination of more students attending college, more parents taking out loans for their children’s education and a lack of options to discharge the debt, the fed reports. In 2005, congressional Republicans pushed through a new law that made private student loans nearly impossible to discharge in bankruptcy. While student debt tops all other forms of consumer debt, it’s the only kind that cannot be absolved in bankruptcy.

The fed’s report comes less than 24 hours before the federal sequester is scheduled to take effect, the automatic budget cuts that will cut off federal financial aid for as many as 280,000 students nationwide.

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And the GOP person running for Jessie Jackson’s Jr’s seat is?

Republicans Pick Convicted Felon to Run for Jackson’s Seat

Republican voters picked ex-convict Paul McKinley (R) as their nominee to run for the seat recently ceded by former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr, the Chicago Tribune reports.

McKinley, a convicted felon who served nearly 20 years in state prison for burglaries, armed robberies and aggravated battery, declared victory, beat businessman Eric Wallace (R) by 23 votes.

Polticalwire

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Rand Paul changes up his Foreign Policy from his father….

I understand a bit WHY …But I’m still shaking my over this guy voting for Hagel for Defense….

…from the Washington Post….

Posted by Aaron Blake on February 6, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who looks more and more like he will pick up where his father left off and run for president in 2016, tried to create some separation between himself and his famous dad in a speech Wednesday.

“I am a realist, not a neoconservative, nor an isolationist,” Paul began in his opening remarks at the Heritage Foundation.

Paul called for a balanced approach to foreign policy that includes both significant action against radical Islam but also shunned the neoconservative and interventionist strains that dominated the Republican Party for the past decade and which his father, Ron Paul, campaigned vehemently against.

But even as he charted his own course on foreign policy, the differences between he and his father were much more about tone and emphasis than about substance. And indeed, he echoed much of what his father has espoused in recent years.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). (Chip Somodevilla – GETTY IMAGES)

While many people think of Ron Paul as an isolationist, it’s important to note that heidentified more as a non-interventionalist — i.e. getting involved only in limited circumstances in which American interests were clearly at stake. For example, even as he was a vocal critic of the war in Iraq, he initially voted the authorize the use of force in Afghanistan.

Rand Paul embraced much of his father’s policy of limited intervention on Wednesday, calling for the closure of overseas bases, reluctance to use force, avoidance of nation-building, and the approval of Congress in order to declare war.

In the most telling moment of the speech, he even agreed with one of his father’s most controversial statements, saying “western occupation fans the flames of radical Islam.”

The difference is that, while Ron Paul’s views on so-called “blowback” were often expressed in a very blunt manner — he even said 9/11 was the result of blowback and said that Islam wasn’t the enemy – Rand Paul repeatedly emphasized that the threat of radical Islam is real and quickly pivoted to that message Wednesday, rather than dwelling on the idea of blowback.

“Radical Islam is no fleeting fad but a relentless force,” he said. “Though at times stateless, radical Islam is also supported by radicalized nations such as Iran. Though often militarily weak, radical Islam makes up for its lack of conventional armies with unlimited zeal.”

Policy-wise, Rand Paul agrees with his father about blowback — at least to some degree — but he also expressed that view in a more careful manner that won’t scare Republicans (or at least not nearly as many).

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Wisconsin 2/28/13….PPP Poll……Hillary again….

Wisconsin Miscellany

PPP’s new Wisconsin poll finds that Hillary Clinton would be dominant in the state, both in primary and general elections. Clinton leads home state Republicans Paul Ryan 51-43 and Scott Walker 54-41 in hypothetical match ups in the state. Her 56/37 favorability rating makes her far more popular than either of them. She leads Ryan by 13 and Walker by 20 points with independents. Clinton would also lead Marco Rubio 52/38 in the state.

As much as Wisconsin Democrats love Russ Feingold, they’d still much rather have Clinton as their 2016 Presidential candidate. 50% say she would be their choice to 25% for Feingold, 11% for Joe Biden, 3% for Andrew Cuomo, and 2% for Elizabeth Warren.

On the Republican side both Ryan and Walker would be the favorites for President in the state if they ran, but not by particularly overwhelming margins given their home state status. Ryan polls at 35% to 22% for Marco Rubio and 10% for Chris Christie with no one else in double digits. Walker polls at 33% to 27% for Rubio and 10% for Christie. It’s a sign of Rubio’s strength that he polls so close to those guys even on their own turf.

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The US pledges $60 Million for Syrian Rebels…Begins steps to send more….

Senator John McCain has to be smiling….

While a LOT of us have applauded the President’s stand AGAINST aiding the Syrian rebels….

That’s about to go out the window….

There are unsubstantiated reports that the Us and other Allies are in-fact providing training for certain groups of rebels….

There has been a re-examination of the US ‘hands off’ policy with the point of getting the US involved to be able to have a say AFTER the Syrian war ends….

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pledged an additional $60 million in aid to Syrian opposition forces Thursday, including food and medical support directly to armed rebels for the first time but turning aside their demand for weapons.

Kerry, on his first foreign trip as America’s top diplomat, said that the extra assistance would help “the legitimate voice of the Syrian people,” who have been trying in vain for nearly two years to topple President Bashar Assad. Kerry said Assad had “long ago lost his legitimacy…and must be out of power.”

The $60 million more than doubles the amount that the Obama administration has so far given to the political opposition in Syria, and, in a policy shift, some of the aid will be funneled directly to armed rebels for the first time….

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Pope Benedict XVI leaves the Vatican by air for final time ahead of resignation….

photo….usatoday.com

Pope Benedict XVI left the Vatican for the last time as pontiff on Thursday and flew by helicopter to Castel Gandolfo, where he made his final public speech in front of a cheering crowd.

As his closest aide wept by his side, Benedict bade farewell to Vatican officials gathered in the San Damaso courtyard of the Apostolic Palace, a corps of Swiss Guards standing by at attention.

Benedict then traveled by car to the helipad on the top of the hill of the Vatican gardens and boarded a helicopter along with his secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, for the 15-minute trip to Castel Gandolfo.

Bells tolled as they took off and circled St. Peter’s Square, where well-wishers held up signs saying “Thank You.”

When Benedict landed in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, a crowd in the town’s square started cheering and waving flags, chanting, “Benedetto, Benedetto” in rhythm.

“I am simply a pilgrim who is starting the last part of his journey,” Benedict told them in his final public speech.

The crowd shouted back “Long live the pope!”

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House Votes to Back Senate Domestic Violence Law…..

The Democrats carry the day despite the Conservative Caucus in the House in a move that is becoming more routine….

The House voted on Thursday to pass the Senate’s bipartisan reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, in a big victory for President Obama and Democrats in Congress.

The legislation passed on a vote of 286 to 138, with 199 Democrats joining 87 Republicans to push the reauthorization of the landmark 1994 law, which assists victims of domestic and sexual violence, across the finish line.

Though the reauthorization passed the Senate earlier this month with 78 votes — including those of every woman, all Democrats and just over half of Republicans — a version unveiled by the House last Friday immediately came under sharp criticism from Democrats and women’s and human rights groups for failing to include certain provisions offered in the Senate bill.

The House bill excluded specific protections for gay, bisexual or transgender victims of domestic abuse — eliminating “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” from a list of “underserved populations” that face barriers to receiving victim services — and stripped certain provisions regarding Native American women on reservations.

Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the majority leader, had committed to passing the legislation in the House only with bipartisan support. On Tuesday night, with House Democrats firmly united against the Republican version, the House Rules Committee approved a bifurcated process to consider the Senate legislation; on Thursday, the House first voted on its substitute amendment and then, when that version failed to pass, it took up and passed the Senate version.

On Thursday, Democrat after Democrat stood on the House floor, urging their colleagues to reject what they said was the weaker House version and to vote for the underlying Senate-passed bill.

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Memo Read Round the World: Yahoo Says No to Working at Home

And the Memo came from a Woman?

She’s gotta be making MILLIONS in salary, Right?

And……Dig THIS!

photo…cnn.com

Having worked from home during the end of her pregnancy and giving birth to a boy, Marissa Mayer returned to work at Yahoo Headquarters where she has built a nursery next to her office suite.

Wiki….

In a memo read round the world, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has made it clear that working at home will not be an option on her watch. For a contemporary technology-driven company this is a striking position, one that appears to set back the modern workplace and working parents by about two decades.

Eliminating the ability to telecommute eats away at the core of what Yahoo, an Internet pioneer, and Mayer, a new mother, would seem to be all about. Predictably, reaction was swift. Mommy blogs expressed outrage at this anti-family policy. Technology blogs called it misguided. Workplace blogs said the ban might even be unlawful, though that’s hard to fathom.

No one should be surprised if Mayer reverses herself—like Netflix when it angered millions of faithful customers 17 months ago with a steep price hike masked in a plan to break apart its DVD rental and streaming services. Or, dare I say it, like New Coke. Such blunders surface from time to time in the corporate world and all one can do is marvel.

Mayer’s edict went out to employees last week in an internal note announcing that starting June 1 all employees will be expected to report to work each day at a Yahoo office. At Mayer’s instruction, Yahoo HR head Jackie Reses wrote the memo, first reported at Allthingsd.com. The memo read, in part:

“To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home.”

Mayer took the helm at Yahoo in July. She’s been overhauling the troubled company and famously decided to take only two weeks of maternity leave when her son was born in October. So she is leading by example. [That is NOT True….She has here OWN PERSONAL Nursey at work]  Things need to change. But in eliminating flexible schedules she is swimming against a strong current.

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Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest 2/28/13: Tom Latham, GOP’s best bet, declines Iowa Senate bid

Reposted from Daily Kos Elections by David Nir

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Leading Off:

• IA-Sen, IA-03: They’re popping champagne corks at the DSCC, though probably crying into their beer at the DCCC. Rep. Tom Latham, the long-time establishment-flavored GOPer from IA-03 who would have given the Republicans their best shot (probably their only shot) at defeating Bruce Braley for the open Senate seat being vacated by Tom Harkin, has said he won’t run for the Senate. Latham said he didn’t want a Senate run to detract from his duties in the 3rd, which certainly makes it sound like he’ll be running for re-election there instead.

That leaves IA-04 Rep. Steve King a pretty clear path to the GOP Senate nomination if he still wants it, and given King’s hard-right, foot-in-mouth ways, also gives IA-01 Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley (already in the race, and expected to clear the Dem field) a similarly clear path to the Senate. Consider PPP’s most recent poll of Iowa, taken in early February shortly after Harkin’s retirement announcement and before Braley had gotten in. They found a race between Latham and Braley a tossup, with Braley leading only 44-41. By contrast, Braley led King by 11, 49-38. That same poll showed King romping in the hypothetical GOP primary, though, leading Latham 50-27 in a two-man race. Those odds, more so than his duties to IA-03 constituents, are probably what weighed on Latham’s mind as he made his decision.

Also, Latham may have been feeling burned by Karl Rove’s decision to declare war on Steve King and, more generally, on off-message, anti-establishment GOP primary contenders. That only seemed to have the effect of riling up King, and his small-donor backers, even more. There’s still, of course, the possibility that one of Iowa’s other establishment GOPers, most likely Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, could try to fend off King in a primary. But PPP found her standing even less of a chance than Latham.

The one downside here is that Latham’s slightly Dem-leaning IA-03 would have been a strong pickup opportunity for the Dems if it were open, but given his durability (he defeated Dem Rep. Leonard Boswell in a redistricting-forced mashup by around 8 points), it’s a lot less of a tempting target with Latham sticking around. The 3rd went for Obama51-47 in 2012, making Latham one of fewer than 20 House Republicans in districts won by Obama, and any road back to the House majority has to go through seats like Latham’s. (Businessman Mike Sherzan is the only announced Democrat in IA-03 so far.) (David Jarman)

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Political Roundup for February 28, 2013…Red Racing Horses

by: Ryan_in_SEPA
Congress

PA-13/PA-GOV/DCCC: Congresswoman Allyston Schwartz has resigned as DCCC Finance Chair as it appears she really is running for Governor.

DCCC: Congressman Jim Himes will replace Congresswoman Schwartz as DCCC Finance Chair.

PA-13: As it appears Congresswoman Allyston Schwartz will be running for Governor, Politics PA provides us with an extensive list of potential Democratic candidates for this D+12 blob located in Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.  If I had to guess, I expect this to break down into a Montco vs. Philly fight with Mike Stack being an early favorite.

VRA: The Supreme Court heard arguments on Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act on Wednesday and oral argument did not go well for upholding the Act.  The Chief Justice specifically asked if the Justice Department thought southerners were racist.  Considering what happened with Obamacare last year, who knows how the Court will rule.

AR-Sen: The Club for Growth is now running ads against Arkansas Democratic Senator Mark Pryor.  The Club for Growth apparently is making this race one of their biggest targets in 2014.  Lets just hope they don’t screw up the primary.

KY-Sen/POTUS: Here is a great piece on the rebranding of Senator Rand Paul within the Republican foreign policy spectrum.  Paul is no longer pushing himself as a non-interventionist, but appears to be pushing himself to be more of a realist.  I think he has a serious opening here and has quite impressed me over the last two years with his ability to mold libertarian ideas into a more tolerable format for many Republicans like myself.

Senate 2014: In case you did not know, the Democratic Senate class of 2008 is facing some interesting challenges when it comes to reelection.  Many of the Democrats are in conservative states where they benefited from the 2008 wave….

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President Barack H. Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize ……….

( I remembered this….. This morning, so I’m re-posting it….He should get another one for dealing with Republicans in the House….)

photo….visitingdc.com

The Nobel Committee has named Obama as it’s 2009 recipient of the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize…The Prize and it’s monetary award (at least $1.5 million) will go to the United State 44th President for his …..’.support (in) what he’s trying to do, to achieve….’

A lot of people are currently bent out of shape on this one….Because it seems that the committee is saying that Obama is getting the prize because he isn’t George Bush….Because he has proclaimed to the world that United States is a partner to the world, and will consult with the rest of the sovereign nations out there, and not ride rough shot over them, and their interests. Another quote from the committee…..He won because of  ‘his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between people”…..

Make no mistake the conservatives will view this as an affront…and they will be right…..but you know a whole lot of people around the world had to sit on their hands and complain while Bush and Cheney tried the \’stick\’ method of diplomacy for the last eight years…and they where not happy (and quite a few took to the streets in Europe)……

I think the committee is also patting the American people on their backs for electing the countries first black biracial president……a man with a different name and pedigree rises to become the leader of the world most powerful economic and military powered country……

And finally I think the committee has weighted in Obama’s campaign pledge of ‘change’ …a word that has popped up all over the planet giving a hope to a new day in some very tired places…….

It will be hard for Obama to keep the dream alive…but at least the Nobel Committee in Stockholm has given the man their blessing and hope for the future…….

Update:……Video of Obama’s presser on the announcement of his receiving the Nobel Peace Prize…..and the transcript…..

Note.……President Obama is the third sitting Presiden to receive a Nobel Peace Prize…following Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wiklson…..

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Republicans in the House plan Appropriations Bill that would blunt but not cancel the Sequester Cuts…

While the media and the President push the Sequester cuts that are the most onerous….

The House Republicans have been working overtime to put in a safety valve for the upcoming cuts….

This would enable them to be able to say publicly that have cuts ….But would give the President and whoever room to manuever those cuts…

The Bill does NOT address tax increases…..Something the President wants dearly and says he MUST have….

So….The Democratic Senate and the President will have to go along withn this House patch….

?????

Stay tuned….

House Republican leaders seem to have averted a potential rift in the conference, garnering wide support for a continuing resolution that will move as soon as next week.

GOP leaders called a Wednesday afternoon meeting to brief members on the strategy for the CR, where Speaker John A. Boehner urged members to continue fighting in unison, on Capitol Hill and in their districts, to keep the sequester’s spending cuts in effect.

“We’re on the side of the angels,” the Ohio Republican told his members in the closed-door conference meeting, according to a source in the room.

House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., on Wednesday helped explain the details of his bill at the special meeting of the Republican Conference. He is drafting a fiscal 2013 spending package that would effectively cap spending at around $974 billion. It uses mechanisms put in place by the two recent budget control measures (PL 112-25, PL 112-240) to make the cuts. Those measures would keep in place a cap of $1.043 trillion on discretionary spending for fiscal 2013, but the sequester kicks in March 1 and cuts that back to about $974 billion.

Rogers left the meeting saying there was “wide and deep” support for his bill. “I have never seen a matter of this magnitude that had no one speak against it,” he said.

Many Republicans leaving the meeting echoed that, saying there appears to be strong support for the Rogers bill. Leaders will still need to canvas members before bringing it to the floor, but that doesn’t appear to be an obstacle, Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said as he left the meeting.

“I am sure that they are going to officially whip the conference before making a decision, but it sure looked good to me,” Brady said.

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Bob Woodward’s fight with the White House about who fronted the Sequester first….

photo…politicalbooks.org

Bob Woodward has been ALL over the media with his VERY…VERY public fight with the Obama White House….

Why?

Becxause Woodward has correctly pointed out that the President invented the sequester in the FIRST place…

NOT the Republicans…..

Not that it matter much since ALL of these politicans voted to DO the sequester…

Here’s some info on the feud….

By Bob Woodward, Published: February 22

Bob Woodward (woodwardb@washpost.com) is an associate editor of The Post. His latest book is “The Price of Politics.” Evelyn M. Duffy contributed to this column.

Misunderstanding, misstatements and all the classic contortions of partisan message management surround the sequester, the term for the $85 billion in ugly and largely irrational federal spending cuts set by law to begin Friday.

What is the non-budget wonk to make of this?

Who is responsible?

What really happened?

The finger-pointing began during the third presidential debate last fall, on Oct. 22, when President Obama blamed Congress. “The sequester is not something that I’ve proposed,” Obama said. “It is something that Congress has proposed.”

The White House chief of staff at the time, Jack Lew, who had been budget director during the negotiations that set up the sequester in 2011, backed up the president two days later.

There was an insistence on the part of Republicans in Congress for there to be some automatic trigger,” Lew said while campaigning in Florida. It “was very much rooted in the Republican congressional insistence that there be an automatic measure.”

The president and Lew had this wrong. My extensive reporting for my book “The Price of Politics” shows that the automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White House and were the brainchild of Lew and White House congressional relations chief Rob Nabors — probably the foremost experts on budget issues in the senior ranks of the federal government.

Obama personally approved of the plan for Lew and Nabors to propose the sequester to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). They did so at 2:30 p.m. July 27, 2011, according to interviews with two senior White House aides who were directly involved.

Nabors has told others that they checked with the president before going to see Reid. A mandatory sequester was the only action-forcing mechanism they could devise. Nabors has said, “We didn’t actually think it would be that hard to convince them” — Reid and the Republicans — to adopt the sequester. “It really was the only thing we had. There was not a lot of other options left on the table.”

A majority of Republicans did vote for the Budget Control Act that summer, which included the sequester. Key Republican staffers said they didn’t even initially know what a sequester was — because the concept stemmed from the budget wars of the 1980s, when they were not in government.

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