Blame game continues over nearing sequester cuts

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 25, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Meanwhile, the president and Republicans kicking the blame game into high gear.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I know that sometimes folks in Congress think that compromise is a bad word. Thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off. Tens of thousands of parents will have to deal with finding child care for their children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For creating the sequester, the award for worst idea goes to President Barack Obama.

Upon learning of his achievement, President Obama said --

OBAMA: I receive this honor with deep gratitude and great humility.


CAVUTO: All right, so Republicans seizing on the Oscars last night to make the theme that this guy is exaggerating.

Joe Trippi of course agrees with that series of ad campaigns. The Democratic strategist extraordinaire joins us right now.

Bottom line is, nothing's getting done. Now, you could make an argument that nothing getting done with $85 billion worth of cuts that are better than no cuts is OK. What do you say?

JOE TRIPPI, FOUNDER, JOE TRIPPI & ASSOCIATES, INC.: Well, I mean, it's going to be cuts. And there's going to be $85 billion, but it's not the smart way to do it.

But, look, both sides agreed to this. The president's idea, Republicans went along with it, thought it was a good way.


CAVUTO: ... thought it wasn't going to happen. But, suddenly, it did, right?


TRIPPI: Yeah. No one thought this was going to happen.

They all thought that -- the reason we're talking about these drastic cuts, everybody is going, they're making up the drastic cuts.

No, we made them both drastic on both sides, drastic in defense, drastic on some of the Democrats' pet...


CAVUTO: But you say drastic. In the scheme of things, yes, the layoffs and everything else, and I'm not minimizing that, but no one is cutting anything in the aggregate.

TRIPPI: Right.

CAVUTO: At worst, it's slowing the rate of growth in some of these programs.

And I guess I'm just wondering, not even taking sides in this debate, if that causes such a hullabaloo, what are we going to have to do when we really have to cut?

TRIPPI: Well, no, but the reason here -- the reason it's causing this is because it's not -- look, if there was flexibility built into that $85 billion, Defense Department gets to decide where the cuts come from...

CAVUTO: Right. Right. You argue there is no such flexibility.

TRIPPI: Yes. There would be no problem.


CAVUTO: What about Bob Woodward's argument that the president sort of changed the goalpost here by knowing full well that you couldn't raise revenues in this and all of a sudden revenues were raised as part of the equation to settle this? Was he right?

TRIPPI: I think there's a legitimate -- we can have a legitimate debate about...


CAVUTO: Woodward says there's no debate. The president changed the goalposts. Did he?

TRIPPI: No, I don't think -- the president has been saying pretty much a dollar for a dollar for a while now. I think he was originally $2.5 for a dollar.


CAVUTO: So, when Republicans come back and say, hey, it was disproportionately tax hikes over spending cuts, you got your pound of flesh, Mr. President, no more?

TRIPPI: Well, here's the thing.

Republicans think all the Democrats want to do is raise taxes. Democrats think all the Republicans want to do is cut spending and social programs. I mean, that's the two raps on each other.

CAVUTO: Right.

TRIPPI: OK, compromise, $45 billion in -- $55 billion in revenue, $55 billion in cuts.


CAVUTO: But the problem, Joe, not the amount of money coming in, all the money going out. A trillion more goes out than comes in every year, right? So isn't that and shouldn't that be the focus?

TRIPPI: I think you're right about where the focus should be.

What I'm trying to deal with is this sequestration. And what I said I think to you earlier when we were off the air for a second was, it's like, look, we got to get rid of five pounds. And we all agree we got to lose five pounds.

CAVUTO: Right.

TRIPPI: We could have liposuction. We could stop eating carbs. Or we could cut your hand off to get rid of five pounds. Well...

CAVUTO: That would be a heavy hand.

TRIPPI: Yes. Well, no, but, I mean, sequestration is more meat cutter, not really thoughtful, the two parties agreeing on flexibility and making some cuts that would matter.

That's what I think is crazy about this. It's really both sides.


CAVUTO: And we just got to this point.

All right, Joseph, always good seeing you, my friend.

TRIPPI: Good to see you.

CAVUTO: Welcome back, Joe Trippi.

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