10:05: President Obama hosts the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress at the White House; VP Biden also attends.
11:30: Jay Carney briefs the press
AP: The White House says automatic spending reductions set to kick in will be put off until as close to midnight Friday as possible.
The law, passed by Congress on Jan. 2 simply says that “on March 1, 2013, the president shall order a sequestration for fiscal year 2013.” That’s budget talk for an $85 billion reduction in defense and domestic spending between now and Oct. 1.
Obama can issue that order at any point in the day.
And White House press secretary Jay Carney says that means midnight, Friday – or as close to midnight as possible: 11:59 p.m. and 59 seconds.
Paul Krugman: So, after reading the Bob Woodward saga of the alleged “threat” from Gene Sperling, the White House supereconwonk, I went through my own correspondence with Gene, and couldn’t find anything threatening – although I guess you could read his injunction, at one point, to “take care” in an ominous tone of voice.
Hey, don’t I rate some proper intimidation?
But then, Woodward’s story is looking supremely silly too. Can Robert Redford unportray him, or star in a sequel titled “All the president’s crybabies”?
It’s mighty interesting reading Scheiber’s review now –
Noam Scheiber (October 2012): …. I didn’t find Woodward’s book unusually tedious. In fact, I learned a lot from it. What I found it to be was remarkably slanted.
…. it is relentlessly biased against the president. Woodward argues that the White House and Congress failed to reach a major deficit-reduction deal last summer because Obama didn’t provide the necessary leadership, even though this thesis is untethered from Woodward’s own reporting, to say nothing of reality.
But, in another sense, the book is perfectly in sync with Woodward’s oeuvre. There is a body of respectable Washington opinion that considers Obama unworthy of the presidency: he hadn’t put in his time before running, didn’t grasp the majesty of the office, evinced no respect for the way things were done. He not only won without courting the city’s elders, he had the bad manners to keep his distance even after winning. This is the view Woodward distills.
Woodward telegraphs his contempt from the get-go…..
I reckon this line says it all: “There is a body of respectable Washington opinion that considers Obama unworthy of the presidency…..”
ThinkProgress: Bob Woodward appeared on Fox News’ Hannity on Thursday to complain about Gene Sperling’s email…. During his interview with Sean Hannity, Woodward claimed that he had been “roughed up” by Sperling and agreed with the host’s characterization of the Washington journalists as liberals who are disinterested in challenging the president with Bill Ayers, an education advocate who was part of the group the Weather Underground:
HANNITY: The fact that the president …. wasn’t asked about his association with Bill Ayers was troublesome to me, I think we’ve got a media that’s not as critical as perhaps it once was in, for example, the days of Watergate.
WOODWARD: Well, I agree with that. We need to be very aggressive and it’s one of the judges that said democracies die in darkness and I really think that’s true.
Todd Purdum (Vanity Fair – Feb 21): With drastic government spending cuts due to kick in, the top job at the Pentagon still vacant, and Congress conveniently out of town for its Presidents’ Day recess, the White House press corps has paused this week to bemoan not the state of the republic but of itself.
…. as a class, they are the world’s biggest whiners. I know because I was once one of them, and a first-class whiner myself. I don’t think their argument holds water. The modern presidency is so sprawling and complex that the reporters best equipped to cover it are the experts in various fields, from defense to transportation, to agriculture, to health care….
What the White House reporters are good at is “gotcha,” at catching a president’s inconsistencies, slipups, and animadversions—at stirring the pot and producing a sharp headline, however fleeting. When The New York Times can ask Obama (with a theoretically straight face) whether he is a “socialist,” then anything can happen. Is it any wonder that he has not given the paper an interview since 2010? What president would? ….