Just like Republicans, Democrats say President Barack Obama has overhyped the effects of the automatic spending cuts and offered a confusing message about it.
Initially the White House was full of doom and gloom, warning of interminable lines at airports, widespread firings of teachers, and quick, huge job losses in the private sector as government contracts were cancelled.
That was going overboard, says former Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell. “They probably went over the top in terms of saying that the consequences were going to be horrible, especially because it’s happened and the lines in the airports aren’t long, the world hasn’t changed overnight,” he told The Hill
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“Some of this is going to kick in eventually — government workers will be furloughed, contractors will lose their jobs, people will start feeling this for sure — but it will take some time, . . . and it probably wasn’t the best strategic path for the White House to follow.”
A top Democratic congressional aide scolded Obama for strategic incompetence. “Don’t accentuate a fight you don’t intend to wage [and] can’t win,” the aide told The Hill.
“They spent two weeks building up sequester as a horror show and then got fact-checked a dozen times and were forced to back off their own claims of it being a disaster once they were forced to acquiesce to thecuts happening.”
Even Michigan Rep. Sander Levin, the ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, who basically agrees with Obama on the sequester, told MSNBC, “Maybe at times there’s been an overstatement.”
The first part of the sequester kicked in at the end of last week with $85 billion of indiscriminate cuts. So far the public has hardly noticed any change in government services.
Obama and his aides have pulled back from their fire and brimstone act over the last few days. That represents a “recalibration,” an Obama insider euphemistically put it to The Hill.
Even the day before the cuts began, Obama started to temper his words. “This is not going to be an apocalypse, I think as some people have said,” Obama told reporters.
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