President Obama faced an unusually tough, frank interview on Univision during his Florida swing this week. The Miami event highlighted areas of the Obama presidency that Hispanics largely view as failures, and it wasn’t just immigration either. The interview gave the president a chance to face these voters on their own turf, on their own terms, in their own language. It was interesting, to say the least.
While in the hot seat, Obama made a few interesting assertions — and the mother of all gaffes for an incumbent president running for re-election. Host Jorge Ramos asked the president, “What has been your biggest failure?” According to the transcript:
The President: Obviously the fact that we haven’t been able to change the tone in Washington is disappointing. We know now that as soon as I came into office you already had meetings among some of our Republican colleagues saying, how do we figure out how to beat the President. And I think that I’ve learned some lessons over the last four years, and the most important lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside. That’s how I got elected, and that’s how the big accomplishments like health care got done, was because we mobilized the American people to speak out. That’s how we were able to cut taxes for middle-class families.
So something that I’d really like to concentrate on in my second term is being in a much more constant conversation with the American people so that they can put pressure on Congress to help move some of these issues forward. (Applause.)
Interviewer: Yes, as you said, that’s your biggest failure and Jorge asked you do you consider that you broke your promise. So I think the answer is, yes, with many excuses, but you actually broke your promise.
To be honest, I’m not sure which conclusion is more stunning. First, there’s the false claim that the president tried but failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform in the first place. He did no such thing. To date, Obama’s only move on comprehensive immigration reform was — anybody want to guess?? — a speech. Oh, bravo mister president! Four more years!
Then there’s the conclusion that he couldn’t possibly change Washington from the inside. As Mitt Romney Central astutely covered, this is the ultimate case for electing Mitt Romney in November. If President Obama thinks he can do more good from outside of the White House, then by God let’s give him that chance.
But the final assertion is perhaps the most spit take-worthy. By his own admission, President Obama failed to deliver on (umpteen) promises during his first term. So why not give him a second term and let him make it right? Second try is a charm, right?
Uh…. I think that call that a “fracaso” or #FAIL in Spanish, Mister Presidente.