U.S. President Barack Obama answers reporters' questions during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House June 8, 2012 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
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Automatic cuts will have to wait until midnight

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House says automatic spending reductions set to kick in Friday will be put off until as close to midnight Friday night as possible. Call them the Cinderella cuts.

The law, passed by Congress on Jan. 2 simply says that "on March 1, 2013, the president shall order a sequestration for fiscal year 2013." That's budget talk for an $85 billion reduction in defense and domestic spending between now and Oct. 1. Obama can issue that order at any point in the day.

And White House press secretary Jay Carney says that means midnight, Friday - or as close to midnight as possible: 11:59 p.m. and 59 seconds.

Because, Carney says, Obama is "ever hopeful."

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