Obama spoke to the news media before a meeting of his Cabinet Monday.

Obama spoke to the news media before a meeting of his Cabinet Monday. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

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Obama: 'We Can Manage Through' Sequester

President says with "outstanding leadership" agencies can figure out how to make cuts.

President Obama had a new message about sequestration Monday, in the form of a challenge to federal agencies: This may be difficult and nobody's idea of sound public policy, but "we can manage through it."

Prior to a meeting with his Cabinet -- including new members Jack Lew of Treasury and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel -- Obama said Topic A at the meeting would be implementing the sequester.

"Obviously, we’re going to be spending some time talking about the potential impact of the sequester on all the agencies and missions across the board," he said. "It is an area of deep concern and I think everybody knows where I stand on this issue.  We are going to manage it as best we can, try to minimize the impacts on American families, but it’s not the right way for us to go about deficit reduction."

The president pledged to "make sure that our agencies have the support they need to try to make some very difficult decisions" about how to make $85 billion in cuts.

"But," he added, "we can manage through it, and we’re going to rely on the outstanding leadership of all these agencies to make sure that we do whatever it is that we need to get done to help America’s families."