Sequestration scare campaign rebooted; Headlines foretell ‘real damage’ on the way

At CPAC, Sen. Ted Cruz noted that conservatives have been “winning” lately, citing the sequestration cuts as a victory for the House GOP. The White House (with NPR’s help) had tried to paint the cuts as disastrous and pin them on the Republicans, despite the fact that the sequester was the president’s idea. Then, sequestration took effect, and it didn’t quite have the apocalyptic meteor-strike effect that many had been led to expect.

Don’t get cocky, though, Sen. Cruz. The first act in Sequester Theater, in which the White House closed its doors to public tours, was a public relations disaster for Obama, but Republicans are in for a beating when the real cuts start rolling in. The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent has compiled a list of headlines warning of the “real damage” on the horizon.

That’s right: the Sioux City Journal reports that “furloughs could lead to bootleg meat.” Iowa’s in for double the pain, as the Des Moines Register reports that “Federal budget cuts creep into Iowa.” How’s that for a striking headline?

Huffington Post’s Sam Stein had his own striking headline to add young human faces to the equation: “Head Start Programs Gutted By Sequestration Cuts.” And by gutted, he means, “a Head Start program near Fayetteville, Ark., has decided to take the dramatic step of closing its classrooms for the summer 13 days earlier than planned.” That’s only one instance, though, and if you do the math — multiply programs, days, children, etc. — and you’ll end up with a pretty big number. But “gutted”?

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s not giving up yet.

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