Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod on Sunday explained that President Barack Obama had not accomplished comprehensive immigration reform because the tea party had driven mainstream Republicans so far to the right.
“I think a lot of Republicans in Congress want to cooperate, know better — but they’re in the thralls of this reign of terror from the far right that has dragged the party to the right,” Axelrod told CNN’s Candy Crowley.
“I was in the room when he called together Republicans and Democrats who had been for immigration reform in the past,” the top aide recalled. “President Bush, to his credit, had pushed for immigration reform. In the Senate, 11 members supported it. Those members and members who have been supportive in the past were there along with Democrats, and the president said, ‘I will work with you to get this done.’ Not one of those Republicans was willing to stand up and work with him to pass the bill.”
“We tried to pass the DREAM Act through the Congress. It was blocked by the Republican legislature,” he added.
“The nature of Washington is not monolithic opposition to everything the chief executive wants to do as a political strategy, and that is what happened here. … To say because you have an implacable group of Republicans in the Congress, who simply aren’t going to let that move, that the president hasn’t kept his promise is a little bit disingenuous.”
A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll found that Obama had an enormous lead over presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney among Hispanics, 69 percent to 22 percent.
Republican Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels on Sunday dismissed the idea that Romney needed a specific strategy to win over Latino voters.
Watch this video from CNN’s State of the Union, broadcast April 22, 2012.
(h/t: The Hill)