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(NBC/NECN: Steve Handelsman, Washington) – With so-called “sequestration” looming on Friday, President Obama on Tuesday rejected Republican demands to target the $85 billion in federal spending cuts, to lessen their effect.
And he went back out on the road, as politics again trumped negotiations in this latest fiscal crisis.
The new NBC News/Wall Steet Journal poll finds America split on whether the president is unifying the nation in this manufactured crisis, but 64 percent say Republicans are taking a partisan approach. A finding that validates the Obama battle plan.
To dramatize the effects of the seemingly-inevitable cross-the-board cuts and blame them on Republicans, President Obama went to a shipyard at Newport News, Va. Workers here could be furloughed.
"So, these cuts are wrong. They're not smart, they're not fair," President Obama said.
Workers fear sequestration.
"If we can't work and make money, then you can't go out there and shop," said steelworker Larry Washington.
"I'm worried about it , and we build good ships here and I love my job," said shipbuilder Mike Weaver.
Across the nation, sequestration has millions concerned.
"We might be faced with closing school early, or something like that," said Head Start worker Kathy Kelker.
Butt there's an anti-Obama backlash.
"When is the Republican party gonna stand up to this man and stop him?" said one person in Virginia on Monday night.
GOP leaders are charging: the President is exaggerating.
"Fan the flames of catastrophe. Then claim the only way out is more government, in the form of higher taxes," said Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican Minority Leader from Kentucky.
Another way out is targeting the defense cuts and education cuts, to have the least effect.
That's a plan House Speaker John Boehner says he sent to Senate Democrats twice
"We should not have to move a third bill before the Senate gets off their ass and begins to do something."
But the President on Tuesday rejected targeting cuts
"There's no smart way to do that,” President Obama said. “There's no smart way to do that.....You don't want to have to choose between 'uh, let's see do I close funding for the disabled kid or the poor kid?'"
So, no targeting to blunt the effects of sequestration and with three days left, no talks are reported to try to avoid the cuts.