Yesterday, the media started hyperventilating over President Obama's interview with the Des Moines Register Editorial Board. The President wants the newspaper's endorsement in the critical swing state of Iowa. He wanted to have a frank discussion so asked that his remarks be kept off the record. Probably not smart politically and the President later in the day was forced to release a transcript of his remarks. There was nothing embarrassing in the remarks so I'm not sure why it was not on the record initially, but there was a VERY intriguing discussion on immigration.
The long and short of it is that the President plans on working on a grand bargain on the deficity and having that accomplished in the first six months of the new term. No surprise. With the fiscal cliff coming based on the sequestration deal, there is no way to ignore that issue and it will no doubt require all of the President's attention.
But then what? According to the National Journal, here's what the President had to say:
The second thing I'm confident we'll get done next year is immigration reform. And since this is off the record, I will just be very blunt. Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community. And this is a relatively new phenomenon. George Bush and Karl Rove were smart enough to understand the changing nature of America. And so I am fairly confident that they're going to have a deep interest in getting that done. And I want to get it done because it's the right thing to do and I've cared about this ever since I ran back in 2008.
I'm sure Romney will say that this sounds familiar and that the President promised accomplishing immigration reform in the first year of his first term. But this is a little different. First, he was not talking to a Latino group. He was telling a general audience in a critical swing state that this is the plan. Second, he was not saying immigration reform is one of many goals he wants to accomplish in the first year. He was saying it was THE most important goal after the deficit deal and it will come up just 180 days after the inauguration. Finally, the President's actions in the last year and a half are an indicator that he's serious about immigration. I believe the man.