A leaked email from an Agriculture Department field officer adds fuel to claims President Obama’s political strategy is to make the billions in recent federal budget cuts as painful as possible to win the public opinion battle against Republicans.

The email, circulated around Capitol Hill, was sent Monday by Charles Brown, a director at the agency’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service office in Raleigh, N.C. He appears to tell his regional team about a response to his recent question on the amount of latitude he has in making cuts.

According to the partially redacted email, the response came from the Agriculture Department’s budget office and in part states: “However you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.”

The response noted that the administration had already told Congress that the APHIS would “eliminate assistance to producers in 24 states in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry” without additional funds.

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