National Public Radio's Tamara Keith produced an imaginative revision of President Barack Obama's policy towards the sequester, telling listeners to the 10 a.m. EST hourly news: "The president has long argued that the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts should be replaced with a mix of smarter spending cuts and tax increases through closing loopholes." That false summary paints the president in the best possible light.
The truth, as Bob Woodward showed in The Price of Politics--and which no one but the Obama White House has really tried to deny--is that the "across-the-board" spending cuts in the sequester were originally proposed by the White House itself as a means of forcing the parties to make a deal (i.e. to move the GOP on tax rates).
In general, spending cuts the president has "long argued" for are not "smart" but minimal. In 2009, he proposed cutting a paltry $100 million from the federal budget--a feat memorably visualized in this video:
Furthermore, "closing loopholes" has long been the Republican position as an alternative to President Obama's consistent demands for higher tax rates. That was the case in both the 2011 debt ceiling fight, and in the debate over the "fiscal cliff" at the end of 2012. The president tended to ignore such proposals, insisting on higher income tax rates, over and above whatever loopholes Republicans were willing to consider to raise revenues. Having achieved (some) tax hikes, President Obama has now moved loopholes to the top of his list.
President Obama's policy is a toxic mix of cynicism, dishonesty, and bad policy. He is fortunate that so many mainstream journalists, particularly at taxpayer-funded NPR, are willing to misinform the public on his behalf.