President Barack Obama startled Washington during Monday night's foreign policy debate when he said billions in automatic Pentagon cuts "will not happen" — a line that could weaken his bargaining power
during an epic spending and tax fight expected when Congress returns.
Obama was responding to criticism from Republican rival Mitt Romney that American national security is at risk if the defense cuts are triggered in early January.
"First of all, the sequester is not something I proposed, it's something that Congress proposed," Obama said. "It will not happen."