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February 19th, 2013
06:41 PM ET

CNN dissects the looming spending cuts

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Publicly, you heard the president saying, yes, let's do a deal. Let’s get this done. But the president hasn't picked up the phone and called either Speaker Boehner or Leader McConnell in recent days. I just checked in to see if there would be a secret - you know, Joe Biden goes up to the Senate as we’ve seen in some of these past crisis. And they say, no, there's been no such in treaty, and in fact, Leader McConnell in the Senate says they’re not going to do that again this time.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's using the bully pulpit to wage warfare against the Republicans in essence. There’s two strategies here. First, it's the picture. So, we're going to see more events like we did today where the president standing in front of the kind of people who will lose their jobs when these cuts go into effect and he'll say it's all the Republican's fault effectively for not reaching a reasonable compromise who’ll argue with Democrats. And then, in addition to the picture, there's the message, the timing. He started this conversation on his own while Congress is out of session. So, he gets to dominate the microphone and he gets to argue that the debate should be on his terms, which means the ultimate deal should include tax increases and that's what Democrats want. Republicans don't.

GLORIA BORGER, CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, you can kick the can down the road when it comes to these forced spending cuts, but you can't kick your legacy down the road. If he wants to get something done on everything else, on immigration, even on the government shutdown on – then pick up the phone, OK? Then pick up the phone. If the president is that concerned, pick up the phone.

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