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Obama agenda: Virginia is for ... sequester

The AP: “President Barack Obama is arguing that looming government-wide spending cuts could idle military resources like naval aircraft carriers, while Republicans are criticizing the president for taking his arguments outside Washington instead of staying to work out a plan before Friday's deadline. The president planned to appear Tuesday at Virginia's largest industrial employer, Newport News Shipbuilding, which would be affected by cuts to naval spending.”

(Obama will also meet with Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham about immigration today.)

At today’s event in Virginia, “The president will again call on Republicans to sign off on a new debt reduction plan, one that includes both budget cuts and higher tax revenues through the closing of loopholes and deductions,” USA Today writes.

Pew: “More continue to say Republicans in Congress (45%), rather than President Obama (32%), would be more to blame if an agreement to prevent automatic spending cuts is not reached before the deadline; 13% volunteer that they think both would be equally to blame.”

Politico sees a divide-and-conquer strategy to Obama’s approach on the sequester and Republicans: “Obama’s trying to speed this result, by releasing state by state details of the pain and suffering the sequester will cause, all meant to get Republicans to cave. And he’s got the biggest megaphone, hammering this message over and over in a way the divided Republican party cannot. Except that message could cut both ways. What if the public agrees that yes, there is a lot of pain and suffering – and turns to Obama wondering, why didn’t you do more to prevent it? That’s what makes some Democrats nervous about the White House’s supreme level of confidence.”

Charlie Cook also warns of the potential fallout for President Obama: “In the end, though, it’s not the politics that matters; it is the hardship for real people. It’s the nonelected who are the innocent collateral damage in such a partisan fight. They are the ones hurt by the standoff—people who had no say in the decisions not to reach a compromise before it is too late. And that is the group President Obama and Democrats, the 2012 election victors, should think about. How many of these people who voted for the president and his party, thinking they would be protected from gridlock, might now feel let down, concluding that maybe “all of those people in Washington are the problem”? That’s why the rather cavalier attitude that some Democratic operatives seem to have—relishing this fight, anxious to score yet another win over Republicans—could be risky. Hubris is never a good thing.”

Rigell it, just a little bit… “President Obama finally has a Republican standing with him on the sequester: Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell, who will travel with him Tuesday to Newport News, a White House official said,” per Politico. “Rigell, a former car dealer whose Hampton Roads district is thick with military personnel, told Politico last week that it was not ‘a wise position’ to demand that sequester deals that prohibit new tax revenues.”

The Virginian-Pilot: “After strongly criticizing President Barack Obama on Monday for failing to produce a written plan to avoid automatic defense cuts, U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell is expected to travel with the president this morning to Newport News.”

Obama yesterday to governors on House Republicans: "At some point, we've got to do some governing. And, certainly, we can't keep careening from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis."

As First Read has warned… “Senate action on two of President Barack Obama’s top priorities this year — gun violence and immigration — will likely be delayed until April at the earliest, as budget issues yet again consume all of Washington’s political oxygen and capital,” Roll Call writes.

AP: “Asked Monday whether there was a price tag to see the president, White House press secretary Jay Carney said emphatically that there was not. But he wouldn’t directly address reports that donors who give or raise $500,000 will be invited to quarterly meetings with Obama. ‘Administration officials routinely interact with outside advocacy organizations,’ Carney said. ‘This has been true in prior administrations and it is true in this one.’”

The Boston Globe: “Mass. congressional delegation says sequester cuts would hurt children, the elderly, and the poor.”

If anyone’s noticed a difference in President Obama in the last four years, just check out the difference in his official photos. His 2013 picture is resolute, yet smiling. In 2009, he was determinedly serious.

USA Today: “It's going to be a lot easier to tell if a recipe is pretty nutritious or a diet disaster. First lady Michelle Obama is unveiling a plan today that will flag thousands of healthy recipes that align with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's guidance for healthy eating and the MyPlate icon (choosemyplate.gov). Five media companies — Condé Nast Magazines, Hearst Magazines, Meredith, Food Network and Time Inc. with 18 cooking websites, from AllRecipes.com to FoodNetwork.com to GoodHousekeeping.com — are working with the first lady's Let's Move! (letsmove.gov) campaign to identify the MyPlate-worthy recipes. More than 3,000 recipes will be featured on a new Pinterest page.”