Woodward: Republicans Try to 'Blackmail' Obama With Shutdown

Monday, 30 Sep 2013 01:03 PM

By Dan Weil

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Washington Post Associate Editor Bob Woodward has offered harsh criticism of the Republican strategy on the budget and debt ceiling.

"Let’s call it what it is: they are trying to blackmail the president and say, ‘Look, we’re going to shut down the government or default on our debt unless we go back, rewind the clock on Obamacare and delay it or somehow cut off the funding,'" he said on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" on Monday.

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"You can’t govern that way. It will not work. It will be exposed," he said.

But President Barack Obama is partly to blame as well for not engaging in talks with congressional Republicans, said Woodward, one of the journalists who exposed the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon.

"There is something the president could be doing. He said he will not negotiate on the debt ceiling, a reasonable position. 'I will not be blackmailed,' he said," according to Woodward.

"But he should be talking," Woodward said. "If there is a downturn or a collapse or whatever could happen here that’s bad, it’s going to be on his head. The history books are going to say, we had an economic calamity in the presidency of Barack Obama."

The House passed a second version of its spending bill over the weekend. That bill would delay the mandate requiring individuals to buy health insurance for a year. The Senate is set to take up that bill Monday afternoon, and is certain to reject it. The government will shut down Tuesday unless a budget bill passes Congress before midnight.

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