ByÂ Valerie Richardson-The Washington Times
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. â€” Republican senators had a message for President Obama during a town-hall meeting here Tuesday on the looming defense cuts: Get off the campaign trail and come back to Washington.
The three senators â€”Â Kelly AyotteÂ of New Hampshire,Â Lindsey GrahamÂ of South Carolina andÂ John McCainÂ of Arizona â€” urged the president repeatedly to return to theÂ White HouseÂ and convene meetings withÂ HouseÂ andÂ SenateÂ leaders over how to avoid the $500 billion in automatic cuts to defense spending slated to kick in Jan. 2.
â€œWe understand thereâ€™s an election going on, but the defense of our nation and the security of our country canâ€™t wait for an election,â€ saidÂ Mrs. Ayotte. â€œWe are willing to go to Washington now to resolve this, and I would hope that he would lead an effort now to resolve this, because itâ€™s too important. Itâ€™s not about either party, itâ€™s about making sure that our country is safe.â€
Mr. McCain, who lost toÂ Mr. ObamaÂ in the 2008 presidential race, noted that the president has found time for multiple campaign stops, including Colorado, which Mr. Obama has visited a half-dozen times in the last two months.
â€œThe president of the United States was able to go on â€˜The View,â€™ but he couldnâ€™t meet with various world leaders today,â€Â Mr. McCainÂ said. â€œThe president of the United States was in Las Vegas and also here in Colorado, and he was unable to find time in his schedule to meet with our closest ally in the Middle East, the prime minister of Israel.â€
AddedÂ Mr. McCain, â€œI donâ€™t question the presidentâ€™s priorities. I can assure you, [they] wouldnâ€™t be my priorities.â€
The town hall came as part of the senatorsâ€™ â€œPreserving Americaâ€™s Strengthâ€ tour, a multi-state effort aimed at spreading the word about the economic and defense impact of the budget sequestration. The senators, who are targeting communities with a heavy military presence, plan to make more stops before theÂ SenateÂ reconvenes Nov. 12, saidÂ McCainÂ spokeswoman Rachel Dean.
Asked why only Republicans were participating in the town hall, held at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, the senators said they had invited both Democratic and Republican colleagues to join them. The three Republicans released a letter Monday with three Democratic senators urging theÂ HouseÂ andÂ SenateÂ leadership to enact a bipartisan deficit-reduction package.
â€œFor us to go forward, we need the leadership buy-in of both parties, as well as the president,â€Â Mrs. AyotteÂ said.
To read more, visit:Â GOP senators berate Obama over looming defense cuts – Washington TimesÂ http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/sep/25/gop-senators-berate-obama-looming-defense-cuts/#ixzz27WzkW8OQ
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