“Starting tomorrow everybody here, all the folks who are cleaning the floors at the Capitol. Now that Congress has left, somebody’s going to be vacuuming and cleaning those floors and throwing out the garbage. They’re going to have less pay. The janitors, the security guards, they just got a pay cut, and they’ve got to figure out how to manage that. That’s real.”

— President Obama, news conference, March 1, 2013

This column has been updated with a new Pinocchio rating

This was a pretty evocative image the president offered at his news conference Friday on the sequester — janitors sweeping the empty halls of the Capitol, laboring at less pay.

When we first heard his remarks, we thought he was perhaps overstating matters. Even at federal agencies that have planned furloughs, none are expected to begin on Saturday; such actions are weeks away at many federal agencies. But that’s perhaps a minor rhetorical overreach.

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