President Obama and his allies are frittering away their credibility by continuing to make inflated and incorrect claims about the negative effects of the ongoing spending cuts known as sequestration, Republican strategists say.
Nearly every day, administration officials or Obama supporters sound another set of alarms about the cuts, but few of the impacts have been immediate or have made a big difference so far in the lives of Americans.
Obama and his aides say the biggest consequences will come in weeks or months ahead, such as delays in passenger screening at airports and fewer food safety inspections.
But conservative critics say the administration is crying wolf. "The hype has really disintegrated any credibility" that the administration might have had, says Sean Spicer, communications director for the Republican National Committee.
Many people are now reacting to the administration's negative predictions with "a yawn," he says.
Spicer tells me: "Most Americans know that Washington is spending too much and that a lot of their money is being wasted." He notes that Obama promised to halve the deficit in his first term but he has failed to do so.
Obama's job approval is dropping, Spicer says, because he has been unable to make the system work.
"At the end of the day, regardless of party, the president of the United States is the CEO of the country" and he is expected to get things done, Spicer says. He adds that Obama's "talking points are always good; it's the follow-up" that's lacking.
Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com, and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Facebook and Twitter.