Obama: We must avoid these dangerous spending cuts that I signed into law

Via Charlie Spiering and Guy Benson, whose headline is better than mine. WaPo’s right that this is all about preparing the ground spin-wise for the coming budget standoff with the GOP. The more alarmist O is now, the more pressure in theory there’ll be on Republicans to agree to anything — like new tax revenues — to avert the sequester, which, as you’re hopefully by now aware, was actually the White House’s idea initially and which O himself stood by as recently as late last year. In a more honest world, he would have used the troops and defense contractors as his backdrop here. But he doesn’t want to make defense his anti-cuts showpiece. His base loves the idea of shrinking the Pentagon’s budget; O himself likes it enough to have nominated Chuck Hagel to serve as his Republican rubber-stamp for the practice. So the “potted plants” du jour are first responders, whose budgets will supposedly end up being slashed to put a small dent in annual deficits because Democrats still aren’t ready to address the real driver of unsustainability, mandatory spending. To get a better sense of what that means big-picture, follow the link to Benson’s post and note the graph at the bottom. John Sexton remembers that the whole point of the sequester when it passed was to impose cuts so unpalatable to both sides that they’d surely agree to a grand bargain to avert them before those cuts took effect. The GOP agreed to tax hikes at New Year’s as part of the revenue side of that bargain. Where’s the Dems’ agreement on the (mandatory) spending side?

Exit question via about a dozen different people on Twitter: If criminals are about to go free, second look at gun rights?