Texas Governor Rick Perry said Tuesday that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta should resign if forced to implement automatic cuts in military spending caused by the failure of Congress to reach a deficit reduction agreement.
Back in August, Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr asked Panetta if he would consider quitting if the cuts happened. Panetta said he's not going to quit.
BARBARA STARR: if sequestration happens, just how unacceptable, sir? Do you feel at this point that you could continue in office?
SEC. LEON PANETTA: (Chuckles.) I didn't think it was going to sequester me. (Laughs.)
STARR: Well, I say this very seriously -
SEC. PANETTA: No, I -
STARR: - because, I mean, you both -
SEC. PANETTA: - no, I hear -
STARR: - you have both laid some very serious cards on the table.
SEC. PANETTA: - I hear what you're - I hear what you're saying, but I - you know, I didn't - I didn't come into this job to quit, I came into this job to fight. And I - you know, my intention is to fight to make sure that hopefully some common sense prevails here and that the committee that is established does its work in looking at these other areas of the budget.
And I also have to emphasize with them the dangers of sequestration and the impact that it would have on our national defense. So I think - I think both Mike and I and others here have a responsibility to really educate the leadership on the Hill the - of the dangers if they allowed sequestration to take place.
Look, you know, just for part of the record, I was involved in the conference on Gramm-Rudman. I know what sequestration's all about. And the fact was that at that time the decision was to use this tool as a way to force the right decisions. It hasn't worked. I don't think it will work. But it was the approach that was taken.
In the past, Congress made the decision not to proceed with Gramm-Rudman, not to proceed with sequester because the results would be so damaging. And so every time the trigger was about to take effect, it was postponed.