John McCain's Gift to the White House

Albert R. Hunt is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was formerly the executive editor of Bloomberg News, directing coverage of the Washington bureau.
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We don't want the ball. An almost audible sigh of relief emanated from the White House yesterday when Republican Senator John McCain said on CNN's "State of the Union" that he was "totally opposed" to giving the president flexibility on administering the automatic cuts to domestic and defense spending that are scheduled to take effect at the end of the week.

Support has been building among some congressional Republican leaders to give the administration this flexibility in shaping the cuts mandated by the so-called sequestration. They figure -- and the White House fears -- that the public would hold President Barack Obama more accountable for the pain; polls show that most voters blame congressional Republicans for the impasse.

McCain was adamant in his opposition. "I say to my Republican friends, if you want to just give the president flexibility as to how to enact these cuts in defense spending, then why don't we go home and just give him the money?"

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To contact the author on this story:
Albert R Hunt at ahunt1@bloomberg.net