Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, while warning of flight delays due to sequestration-caused furloughs at the Federal Aviation Administration, suggested that Republicans watch Lincoln in order to learn about how President Obama negotiates.

“I suggest that my former colleagues on the Republican side go see the movie Lincoln,” LaHood, a former congressman, said during the White House press briefing today. “What Lincoln did is he gathered people around him, the way I believe president Obama is doing [to talk about difficult issues] . . . the fiscal cliff got solved because people started talking again.”

As the FAA furloughs employees, LaHood warned, airlines will have to “restrict” the flights they offer. “We believe that it’s not possible to continue the same schedules with less people,” he said. “[Lawmakers'] phones are going to start ringing off the hook from people when they’re stuck in airports, when their flights are delayed 90 minutes or their flights are cancelled or their air tower is closed.”

LaHood is the first cabinet secretary to address the press corps about sequestration, as one reporter noted. “I would describe my presence here with one word, ‘Republican,’” he explained. “They’re hoping that maybe I can influence the people in my own party.”

Congressional Republicans are considering a proposal that would allow President Obama to implement the sequestration cuts more prudently than current law requires, though it would not diminish the size of the cuts or raise taxes.