by Jim Nintzel
U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl made headlines earlier this month when he told the crowd at an American Enterprise Institute event that he'd be "off" the deficit-reduction supercommittee if the panel pursued more cuts in defense spending.
Kyl's remarks were widely interpreted at that time as a threat to quit the supercommittee. But, in an interview last week with The Arizona Republic, Kyl clarified that he was simply trying to make the point that the roughly $400 billion in defense reductions that were agreed to as part of the recent deal to increase the debt ceiling are enough.
He said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., did not put him on the 12-member, bipartisan Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to have him acquiesce to more defense cuts.
"I didn't threaten to leave the committee," said Kyl, one of six Republicans on the supercommittee and the only Arizonan. "I was just making an offhand remark that that's not what I'm on the committee for."
Talking Points Memo has a good summary of a recent meeting of the Super Committee.