ABC News' Jon Garcia and Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) report:
What do the deficit negotiations and immigration reform have in common? President Obama says thinks he’d have a much easier time getting what he wants if only he could do it all himself.
“Believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. I promise you not just on immigration reform. But that's not how our system works,”
Obama said at the annual meeting of the National Council of La Raza in Washington DC. “Neither party is blameless for the decisions that lead to our debt, but both parties have a responsibility to come together to solve the problem and make sure the American people aren’t hurt on this issue.”
He reiterated that he is willing to “cut spending that we don't need in historic amounts … But we can’t just close our deficits by cutting spending. … Not only is it not fair if all of this is done on the backs of middle-class families and poor families, it doesn’t make sense. It may sound good to save a lot of money over the next five years, but not if we sacrifice our future for the next fifty,” Obama said.
“That’s not who we are, we are better than that … we are people who look out for each other,” he said.
And of course even though Obama was pushing for tax increases for deficit reduction, the plan now being offered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., contains NO tax increases. And the White House has indicated that the President will sign it.
Obama did not address Republicans in Congress directly on the matter, though before his speech, Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney, posted to his twitter account: “House GOP risks our economy by refusing to compromise. #Speaker walked away twice from fair deals backed by the public. THAT’S indefensible.”
On immigration, the President said he was disappointed that Republicans in the Senate blocked his reform package last year but contended that getting The Dream Act passed is still the right thing for which to fight.
“It was heartbreaking to get so close and see politics get in the way,” he said. “They've walked away … So let’s be honest. I need a dance partner here — and the floor is empty” leaving the President “enforcing flawed laws in the most humane and best possible way.”
The solution, he said, was to rally the voices outside Washington for change. And to keep the pressure on Republicans, though he didn’t mention them by name.
“This is a city where "compromise" is becoming a dirty word, where there's more political upside in doing what's easier for re-election, what's easier for an
attack ad than what's best for the country,” Obama said. “The Democrats and your president are with you. Don't get confused about that. Remember who it is that we need to move in order to actually change the laws.”