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U.S. President Barack Obama (R) speaks as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney listens during the final U.S. presidential debate in Boca Raton, Florida October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES  - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS USA PRESIDENTI
Mitt Romney and President Obama debate foreign policy. Romney doesn't enjoy it.
Upgrade the Senate bug
Last night, President Obama made some news by saying what anyone who has been paying attention to budget talks since the Budget Control Act was passed has known all along: The sequester, the cuts to defense and other spending, isn't going to happen. The exchange took place in the larger discussion of the needs of the military, when Mitt Romney attacked Obama for the agreement—which Paul Ryan voted for—to put these potential cuts in place in return for raising the debt ceiling. The would-be hawk Romney said those cuts would gut the miltiary and Obama responded:
The president predicted that the deep defense spending cuts mandated by the “sequestration” process, which would go into effect if Congress cannot reach a deficit-cutting deal in the coming months, “will not happen.”
And half the Republican Senate caucus ran to Politico to complain about it. This is representative:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) said the president is "not a dictator yet," expressing surprise over the president's prediction during the debate that sequestration "will not happen."

"I was astonished, I almost fell out of my chair when the president said, 'Don't worry, sequestration won't happen.' We've been begging the president to sit down with us to avoid what his own secretary of defense said would be a devastating blow to our national security. He just said, 'Don't worry, sequestration won't happen.' He's not a dictator yet," McCain told POLITICO Live.

For those who don't remember, immediately after the deal was struck McCain announced his intention to renege on the deal and block the cuts. McCain has known from the beginning that the defense cuts included in the deal were not going to happen. He wasn't going to let them.

No one in Washington has ever thought that these cuts to defense were going to happen, ever. The question has only been on whether and how Republicans were going to break the bonds of Grover Norquist and agree to revenue increases. This isn't about a refusal of Obama to negotiate, it's about the irrationality of the Republicans on taxes.

Give President Obama the upper hand in upcoming negotiations. Give him a better Senate.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Oct 23, 2012 at 09:45 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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