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NBC Journalists Agree: Obama 'Clearly Has the Upper Hand On the Budget'

On Sunday's Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory seized on an item in Politico arguing that upcoming sequester budget cuts could prove to be a "time bomb" for Republicans: "And the political pressure that's being brought to bear....'If sequestration happens now, House Democrats say they'll have tangible proof that the GOP is a dysfunctional party that can't even tie its own shoelaces'....Is that where the pressure is?"

Gregory posed that question to investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff, who replied: "I think the President clearly has the upper hand on the budget. Look, he won the election....Revenues being a part of the equation for cutting the budget, the President won on that....on that particular issue, he's got the upper hand. And it makes sense for him politically to hammer it – hammer it strongly."

Here is a transcript of the February 10 exchange:

11:05AM ET

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DAVID GREGORY: Well, let me bring in Mike Isikoff. Here's the issue. And the political pressure that's being brought to bear, you heard it from Senator Durbin, there's always a reason not to cut, because it's the worst kind of cut, right? So here's the calculus. And Politico writes about it on Friday, for Republicans.

"Several polls released since November's election show Republicans would get the bulk of the blame if the so-called 'fiscal cliff' hit. If sequestration happens now, House Democrats say they'll have tangible proof that the GOP is a dysfunctional party that can't even tie its own shoelaces on something as essential to its long-standing traditional as the Pentagon budget." Is that where the pressure is?

MICHAEL ISIKOFF: Yeah. I think the President clearly has the upper hand on the budget. Look, he won the election. He won on the issues that he fought about and that were debated most heatedly. Revenues being a part of the equation for cutting the budget, the President won on that. So I think, you know, on that particular issue, he's got the upper hand. And it makes sense for him politically to hammer it – hammer it strongly.

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-- Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.