Obama rejects argument that Cantor loss means immigration overhaul is dead

WESTON Mass. Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:14pm EDT

United States President Barack Obama departs the Oval Office at the White House in Washington June 11, 2014. The President will visit Massachusetts today.  REUTERS/Gary Cameron

United States President Barack Obama departs the Oval Office at the White House in Washington June 11, 2014. The President will visit Massachusetts today.

Credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron

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WESTON Mass. (Reuters) - President Barack Obama weighed in on the shock election defeat of Republican Eric Cantor on Wednesday, rejecting the argument that the ouster of the House of Representatives' No. 2 will spell the death knell for immigration reform.

Cantor's ouster by a Tea Party-backed conservative in his Virginia district on Tuesday has sent political shock waves coursing through Washington, and a leading school of thought is that the move means Obama's long-sought attempt to rewrite immigration laws is dead.

Cantor was seen by his opponents as flirting with trying to steer the House into supporting immigration legislation, although White House spokesman Josh Earnest noted that Cantor had campaigned against an immigration deal.

Obama, at a fund-raising event for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, told a dinner crowd that "some of you saw that there was an interesting election yesterday."

"It’s interesting to listen to the pundits and the analysts and some of the conventional wisdom talks about how the politics of immigration reform seem impossible. I fundamentally reject that," Obama said.

Obama, under pressure from Hispanic groups to get a deal done, said he will tell House Speaker John Boehner that he needs to reject the view as well that a reform deal is dead because "politics can't play a part in it."

"If you think that because of politics you want to maintain a status quo that is broken ... you don’t belong in Washington," Obama said.

Obama has been increasingly frustrated by political gridlock that has seized Washington for most of his second term. On Tuesday in Washington he complained ruefully about lawmakers' inability to impose even modest gun control measures to address random shootings that have occurred on a routine basis.

With the Father's Day holiday coming, Obama said all he would want is a "rational opposition."

(Editing by Bernard Orr)

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Comments (2)
astroz wrote:
Massive citizen engagement through phone calls to the Capital Switchboard (202 224-3121) and websites like NumbersUSA.com (that both educate citizens and allow them to quickly send well written and well aimed faxes) were largely to credit for Cantor’s downfall. Citizens scored a major victory over the anything goes immigration crowd and the Chamber of Commerce, but we must stay engaged and active to win the crown…..immigration laws that serve long term CITIZENS INTERESTS. Stay in the good fight America….this is our nation and we must not let it be hi-jacked by radicals who would gladly destroy workers, wages, tax payers, laws and our very democracy. Keep calling and keep faxing (with NumbersUSA.com). It is up to us all to defend our nation….only action matters!

Jun 11, 2014 10:41pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
unionwv wrote:
Note the hostile tone of the Obama quotes, supra.

It’s too bad.

If he were only able to adopt Bill Clinton or Lyndon Johnson’s ways of working with the opposition in Congress, he could get important INCREMENTAL changes needed in immigration law.

Unfortunately, he is a hubristic man, self-limited to the skills born of association with revolutionaries (“we’re going to fundamentally transform America”)

He has fundamentally failed to appreciate the values of the American people outside his radical circle and now seeks to perform the office of Chief Executive of the United States as though it were merely an enlargement of his community organizing efforts in Chicago.

Jun 12, 2014 8:51am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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