In an interview on CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley on Sunday, April 22, President Obama's re-election campaign senior adviser David Axelrod responded to criticism for President Obama's inability to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation during his first term in office. A highlighted excerpt from this interview is below.
Mandatory citation: CNN's State of the Union:
CROWLEY: OK, the president at other times during that campaign, which I covered fairly closely, said I'm going to get immigration reform in the first year. Now we're almost four years in and he has said, OK, I'm going to get it in the first year of my second term. Why should the Hispanic community or the country at large believe it's going to happen next year?
AXELROD: Well, because the president has tried to get it. He has initiated those actions and here is what happened, Candy. I was –
AXELROD: - wait one second. I was in the room when he called together Republicans and Democrats who have been active for immigration reform in the past. To his credit, President Bush pushed for immigration reform. In the Senate 11 members supported it, those members and members in the House 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 a bill. We tried to pass the DREAM Act through the Congress. It was blocked by the Republican legislature –
CROWLEY: Isn't that the nature of Washington?
CROWLEY: Isn't that the nature of Washington is you –
AXELROD: The nature of Washington, Candy is not - 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. It was disappointing.
I believe when the president wins re-election in the fall, there will be a new opportunity to get this done. Hopefully, we can get something done beforehand, but 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.
State of the Union with Candy Crowley airs Sundays at 9:00am and 12:00pm on CNN. The full transcript for this program will be posted to http://www.cnn.com/transcripts later today.