President Obama says he's not the one who canceled the White House tours. He made the comments in an interview with ABC News.
"[O]ne more question about the spending cuts," said the interviewer from ABC News. "You’ve been takin’ a lotta heat for this cancellation of the White House tours. They get– the Secret Service says it’s costs about $74,000 a week. Was canceling them really necessary?"
"You know, I have to say this was not– a decision that went up to the White House. But th– what the Secret Service explained to us was that they’re gonna have to furlough some folks. What furloughs mean is– is that people lose a day of work and a day of pay," Obama said, in response.
"And, you know, the question for them is, you know, how deeply do they have to furlough their staff and is it worth it to make sure that we’ve got White House tours that means that you got a whole bunch of families who are depending on a paycheck who suddenly are seein’––a 5% or 10%– reduction in their pay. Well, what I’m asking them is are there ways, for example, for us to accommodate school groups– you know, who may have traveled here with some bake sales. Can we make sure that– kids, potentially, can– can still come to tour?"
Obama concluded, "But– but– I’m always amused when people on the one hand say– the sequester doesn’t mean anything and the administration’s exaggerating its effects; and then whatever the specific effects are, they yell and scream and say, “Why are you doin’ that?” Well, there are consequences to Congress not having come up with a more sensible way to reduce the deficit. And what I’m proposing is if we do it smart, if we do it sensibly, if we do it in a balanced way that the American support, including, by the way, a majority of Republicans, then we don’t have to– do arbitrary stuff. We can do it in an intelligent way that’s gonna improve our economy."