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TODAY   |  March 01, 2013

Congress to meet with Obama as sequester kicks in

Congressional leaders and President Obama will meet at the White House today, but with both sides unwilling to budge and the sequester spending cuts beginning today, it may be too little, too late. NBC’s Kristen Welker reports.

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>>> let us start with today's sequester deadline and the battle between the white house and bob woodward . kristen welker is in washington. good morning to you.

>> reporter: matt, good morning to you. that fight between the white house and bob woodward has been brewing all week. it really started last sunday, when woodward wrote an op-ed, saying that president obama moved the goalpost in the sequester fight, at first saying tax increases should be off the table and now asking for new revenue. woodward says the white house is trying to shut him down. the white house says that's just not true. now the exchange is becoming heated. veteran journalist bob woodward isn't backing down in his criticism of the obama white house . on fox news thursday night, woodward again described a testy phone call last month with the president's economic adviser, gene sperling .

>> it was a half hour in which he was shouting at me.

>> reporter: all week, woodward has complained that sperling crossed the line, in suggesting via e-mail that woodward would regret reporting that president obama moved the goalpost in the sequester fight.

>> he said that i'm going to regret, you know, that's -- that's -- that goes into the coded, you know, you better watch out.

>> reporter: the white house denies there was any kind of threat thursday, pointing to a leaked e-mail that sperling sent to woodward after they talked. quote, i apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today, but as a friend, i think you will regret staking out that claim.

>> the fact of the matter is there was an accusation that gene had been threatening. i think everybody who knows gene knows that's hard to believe.

>> reporter: a washington sideshow, as the sequester, those $85 billion in cuts takes effect. today, congressional leaders meet with president obama at the white house , but it may be too little, too late, with both sides dug in.

>> we want solutions. republicans want sequestration.

>> they haven't passed a plan. it's time for them to pass a plan.

>> reporter: house members headed out of town thursday as the senate voted on two last-minute alternative plans. both failed. the senate chaplain , tailoring his prayer, seeming to ask for an end to the gridlock.

>> god, and save us from ourselves.

>> reporter: while it's technically too late to shut off the sequester, president obama and congressional leaders will try to get on a path toward finding a solution as quickly as possible when they meet later today . one important point, matt, many of those disruptions, like worker furloughs, don't officially go into effect for about a month.

>> kristen welker at the white