Roby noted that during the third presidential debate Monday night, Obama at first seemed to defend the idea of cuts to the Navy by saying it isn't the number of ships that counts, but rather the overall capabilities of the service.
"You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916," Obama said. "Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed."
Obama's comment was in response to Mitt Romney, who said the Navy is now smaller than at any time since 1917. Romney added that while the Navy has said it needs 313 ships to complete its mission, there are fewer than 285 ships now, and that sequestration could further reduce that figure.
But Roby charged that while Obama seemed to defend a reduced Navy fleet, he also said at the end of the debate that the sequester is not something that he proposed and that it "will not happen." That comment from Obama has sparked a discussion in Washington about whether the White House is much more open than it has previously signaled to avoiding the roughly $55 billion in defense cuts now scheduled for early January.
Roby also said Bob Woodward's new book shows the sequester "did originate in the White House," and said Obama's attempt to deny it is "not very presidential."
Beyond that, she reiterated comments from other Republicans that Obama has done nothing to avoid the sequester, while House Republicans have passed several bills aimed at addressing the problem.
"But worse than passing the buck on his administration's actions is their utter lack of leadership to help us avoid these cuts," she said. "Congress has put forth a reasonable plan to replace the arbitrary sequester cuts with targeted reductions that align with the nation's priorities, yet the White House has been absent from any talks that would lead to a solution.
"Simply saying, 'It won't happen' doesn't make it so. We need leadership and cooperation from the president to help us avoid devastating military cuts, and, unfortunately, we're getting neither."