SHOTLIST:

POOL - AP CLIENTS ONLY

Washington - March 1, 2013

1. SOUNDBITE: President Barack Obama

"As you know I just met with leaders of both parties to discuss a way forward in light of the severe budget cuts that start to take effect today. I told them these cuts will hurt our economy, they'll cost us jobs and to set it right, both sides need to be willing to compromise. The good news is the American people are strong and they're resilient. They've fought hard to recover from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and we will get through this as well. Even with these cuts in place, folks all across this country will work hard to make sure that we keep the recovery going. But Washington sure isn't making it easy. At a time when our businesses have finally begun to get some traction, hiring new workers, bringing jobs back to America, we shouldn't be making a series of dumb, arbitrary cuts to things that businesses depend on and workers depend on, like education and research and infrastructure and defense. It's unnecessary and at a time when too many Americans are looking for work, it's inexcusable."

STORYLINE:

A combative President Barack Obama blamed Republican lawmakers Friday for failing to stop automatic spending cuts that were to begin kicking in later in the day, calling the cuts "dumb, arbitrary."

Republicans said the fault was his, for insisting that increased taxes be part of the resolution.

The president said the impact of the cuts won't immediately be felt, but middle class families will begin to have their lives disrupted in significant ways. He said that as long as the cuts stay in effect, Americans will know that the economy could have been better had they been averted.

He said he still believed the cuts could be replaced but he wanted a deal that includes more tax revenue.

Obama met for less than an hour Friday morning with House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

Boehner's office said he and McConnell told Obama they're willing to close tax loopholes but only to lower taxes overall, not to replace spending cuts. Obama and congressional leaders have agreed that Congress should pass a bill funding the government beyond the end of March while they keep working on a way to replace the spending cuts, Boehner's office said.

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