Romney: Obama and GOP erred on defense cuts

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Mitt Romney said this weekend that his fellow Republicans erred by agreeing last year to automatic defense spending cuts in lieu of a broader debt dealing, and said as president he’ll fight to keep military spending the same portion of the U.S. economy as it is now.

Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program, which released excerpts of the interview Saturday evening, Mr. Romney said both President Obama and GOP leaders messed up in agreeing to automatic cuts.

“I thought it was a mistake on the part of the White House to propose it. I think it was a mistake for Republicans to go along with it,” he told the program.

He also said Mr. Obama has broken the law by failing to offer up his plan for specific defense cuts, as called for by a law that passed Congress overwhelmingly in July and that Mr. Obama signed.

Republicans had hoped by releasing the list, Mr. Obama would have to put himself on the line by highlighting communities where spending cuts could devastate the economy.

The automatic spending cuts take effect on Jan. 2 and are the result of last year’s debt deal, which laid out major broad cuts split between both defense and domestic spending, known as sequesters, unless the deficit super committee had been able to come up with a replacement agreement. That committee failed.

Mr. Obama had already set defense spending cuts in place, but opposes the sequesters. He has called for tax increases to offset the canceled spending cuts.

For his part, Mr. Romney has said he opposed both the sequesters and Mr. Obama’s cuts.

“I want to maintain defense spending at the current level of the GDP. I don’t want to keep bringing it down as the president’s doing,” he said.

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