Virginia has become the focal point of Obama and Mitt Romney campaigns’ battles over sequestration, as the state has a heavy military presence and is one of the key battlegrounds in the November election. The cuts have prompted the defense industry to warn of more than 1 million job losses, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said they would be "devastating" to national security.
“We ran two wars on a credit card and that contributed to our deficits. We had, at the same time, big tax cuts, many of them going to the wealthiest Americans,” Obama said.
Despite the president’s call for compromise on sequestration, the two parties remain deadlocked on a solution to avert the cuts, which both parties consider bad policy.
Obama and Democrats have said that Republicans are protecting tax cuts for the wealthy over the defense cuts, while Republicans say that Democrats are holding the military hostage to force tax increases.
With his Virginia audience in mind, Obama also reassured the paper that even if the cuts took effect, they would not cut into special operations teams like the Navy SEALs.
“We’re going to do what we need to keep our SEALs operating. They are the point of the spear in our battle against terrorism,” Obama told the paper. “We’re not going to see our SEAL teams impacted. We need them to keep us safe.”