The Washington Times - February 22, 2013, 03:46PM

One week ahead of a deadline to avert deep budget cuts, President Obama said avoiding the so-called sequester is a “no-brainer” and he hasn’t ruled out the possibility that lawmakers will make the “right decision.”

Asked if he believes there’s a chance to reach a deal with congressional Republicans by March 1, Mr. Obama simply replied: “Hope springs eternal.”

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Mr. Obama was speaking with reporters in the Oval Office after a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Mr. Obama said he doesn’t believe the cuts are “inevitable.”

“We always have the opportunity to make the right decisions, and I’ve been very clear that these kinds of arbitrary, automatic cuts would have an adverse impact on families, on teachers, on parents who are reliant on Head Start programs, on our military readiness, on mental health services, on medical research,” he said. “This is not a smart way for us to reduce the deficit.”