Obama's sequester climb down?

Byron York:
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Obama indicated that he still subscribes to a modified version of the “Republican fever” theory, expressing the hope that the GOP might someday have a change of heart and go along with his proposals. But he clearly indicated that for the moment, he will move on to other things. “We can’t let political gridlock around the budget stand in the way of other areas where we can make progress,” Obama said, mentioning immigration, gun control, the minimum wage, and other issues he will pursue.

To Republicans, Obama’s words were a sign that a fever had broken — and it wasn’t the GOP’s. “I definitely read a change in tone in [Friday's] press conference,” said one Senate aide. “Obama’s tone has clearly shifted on the sequester. By using his press conference to call out those who’ve been predicting the apocalypse over the past few weeks, he was really calling out nobody more than himself. In that moment, I think, a lot of Republicans realized that the ground had shifted in this debate. The president overplayed his hand, and he knows it.”

“I thought the real news of the press conference was his admission that sequestration isn’t the apocalypse,” said another Senate aide. “And basically that the sky won’t fall. If he doesn’t direct his administration to pull the sky down (illegal immigrant releases, etc.) in the next few months, that will be a sign that his fever is breaking and he is ready to move on. Both Boehner and McConnell are adamant about not raising more taxes so hopefully he sees the writing on the wall.”

“He did seem to concede that the next spending bill will be at the post-sequester level and that there won’t be an Armageddon as a result of the sequester,” said a third Senate aide. “But Sen. McConnell…and the Speaker have been clear as a bell. I don’t know why it took so long for the message to be received.”

Some in the GOP saw public opinion at work. “The three-day Gallup tracking numbers certainly aren’t good for him,” said one House aide, pointing to surveys placing Obama’s job approval rating at 47 percent approve versus 45 percent disapprove — down from a post-election approval rating that topped out at 56 percent. Still, the aide saw no great improvements on the horizon. “Ultimately, they have no dialogue with us,” the aide said of the White House. “Instead of working together, we’re forced to read tea leaves.”
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I think he still plans to use his fight to attack Republicans, but he now knows he can't force them into committing political suicide by backing his tax hiking agenda.  He still plans to blame them for everything that goes wrong, even if it was his actions that caused problems, but the GOP has boxed him into the corner on that too by offering to let him have discretion on how the reduced funds were spent.

Likewise, the GOP is not going to defund the despised health care law as they should.

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