President Obama insisted in a visit to Newport News, Va. Tuesday that he was “not interested in playing a blame game” over $85 billion in spending cuts set to begin Friday.

The problem?

Just moments earlier, he placed the blame entirely at the feet of GOP lawmakers, saying their resistance to higher taxes was blocking any deal to avert the so-called sequester.

“There are too many Republicans in Congress right now who refuse to compromise an inch,” Obama said at the Virginia shipping yard.

Obama is hoping that Republican fears over defense cuts will break the impasse in Washington over the across-the-board spending cuts. Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., joined the president aboard Air Force One for the trip to the military-dependent district — a move Obama joked would not sit well with many conservatives.

“I’ve got to give Scott Rigell credit,” Obama said, telling the crowd it’s “not always healthy” for a Republican to be seen with him.