Mitt Romney, the Republican who lost last year's White House race to President Barack Obama, has accused him of a failed strategy to avert the massive spending cuts set to hit on Friday.
In his first post-election interview since his November defeat, Romney also said it was normal for Republicans to "fight back" against Obama's repeated blame of conservatives for refusing to accept his push for new tax revenue as part of any deal to avoid the cuts.
"No one can think that's been a success for the president," Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, said in Friday excerpts of an interview set to air on Fox News Sunday.
"He didn't think the sequester would happen. It is happening," Romney said of the $85 billion in federal spending cuts that kick in from Friday.
"But to date, what we've seen is the president out campaigning to the American people, doing rallies around the country, flying around the country, and berating Republicans. And blaming and pointing," Romney added.
"Now what does that do? That causes the Republicans to retrench and then put up a wall and fight back."
Obama met with congressional leaders Friday to discuss a possible deal that would avert the so-called sequester or at least minimize its impact through a more targeted approach to spending reductions.
But no 11th-hour breakthrough was expected, and Obama was obligated by law to sign an order triggering the automatic, indiscriminate cuts by the end of Friday.
Romney said Obama's approach was essentially to try and bully Republicans into accepting new tax revenue, in the form of closing loopholes that favor the wealthy, then slam them by saying "those terrible Republicans aren't willing to come together," Romney said.