September 7, 2014

257 words into his 393-word answer to Chuck Todd's question about delaying the executive action on immigration, President Obama says "and I'm being honest now."

Now, eh? That was telling!

From the transcript of the "Meet the Press" interview:
CHUCK TODD: I'm going to go to immigration. You made a decision to delay any executive action until after the election. What do you tell the person that's going to get deported before the election that this decision was essentially made in your hopes of saving a Democratic Senate?
Of course, you tell a lie, a political lie that everyone knows is a lie. Notice that Todd doesn't bother to ask: Aren't you going to have to lie? He's just asking exactly how will Obama phrase the lie.
PRES. OBAMA: Well, that's not the reason. A couple of things that I want to say about immigration. Number one...
He's got the talking points worked out, of course. He begins with "Number one."
I have been consistent about why this is important. The country's going to be better off if we have an immigration system that works. That has strong border security, that has streamlined our legal immigration system. So the best and the brightest who want to stay here and invest her[e] and create jobs here can do so. That families can be unified, and that a system where the millions of people who are here in many cases for a decade or more, who have American kids, who are neighbors, who oftentimes are our friends, that they have a path to get legal by paying taxes, and getting above board, paying a fine, learning English if they have to.
That was a statement of why Obama believes in the policy that he's threatened to impose by executive order. So, between the lines, his answer to the question asked is: I will overwhelm them with a clear, strong statement about why my immigration policy is the right one.

Obama segues into what, I assume, is the second talking point, that the House GOP won't adopt the policy and that's why he wants to resort to executive action, which is still not admitting that delaying the executive action is political:
So the good news is, we have bipartisan support for that. We have a Senate bill that would accomplish that. The House Republicans refuse to do it. And what I said to them was, "If you do not act on something that's so common sense that you've got labor, business, evangelicals, law enforcement, you've got folks across the board supporting it, then I'm going to look for all the legal authorities I have to act." I want to make sure we get it right. I want to make sure, number one, that all the T's are crossed.
Chuck Todd hears his initial — "T" — and interrupts:
CHUCK TODD: Looks like politics. I mean, it looks like election-year politics.
I can see why Todd was getting impatient, but Obama had not even addressed the question of delay and what to tell the person who faces imminent deportation and thinks Obama is putting the Democrats' success in the elections first.
PRES. OBAMA: Not only do I want to make sure that the T's are crossed and the I's are dotted, but here's the other thing, Chuck, and I'm being honest now, about the politics of it. 
There's the tell. Chuck interrupted him, and he immediately responded to Chuck's calling bullshit. Yeah, I know it's bullshit, and I know you want more straightforwardness.

That doesn't mean Obama proceeds to give straightforwardness, of course, anymore than Richard Nixon meant he was about to be perfectly clear when he said — it was his catchphrase — "Now let me be perfectly clear."

Obama proceeds to say:
This problem with unaccompanied children that we saw a couple weeks ago, where you had from Central America a surge of kids who are showing up at the border, got a lot of attention. And a lot of Americans started thinking, "We've got this immigration crisis on our hands." And what I want to do is when I take executive action, I want to make sure that it's sustainable. I want to make sure tha...
Todd interrupts again:
CHUCK TODD: But the public's not behind you.

PRES. OBAMA: No, no, no, no.

CHUCK TODD: Are you concerned the public wouldn't support what you did?
Is the "politics of it" that Obama purported to be "honest" that he realized people wouldn't like the policy he was about to impose? That seems to be Todd's theory. Or was it that the "crisis" created by the "surge" was a reason to go more slowly and be careful? Which is what Obama seemed to be trying to say. I note that Obama's version might fly. The policy to be imposed by executive action was or might have been an impetus for the surge, so it's not a good time to solve the existing problem of long-term residents.
PRES. OBAMA: What I'm saying is that I'm going to act because it's the right thing for the country. But it's going to be more sustainable and more effective if the public understands what the facts are on immigration, what we've done on unaccompanied children, and why it's necessary.
So he comes to rest on the idea that people need to understand why his policy is correct and why he needs to act on his own and without Congress. That is political in a mild sense: A political leader ought to build public support for his actions. It's not political in the harsh sense that his critics are using against him — which is that he's delaying only to avoid affecting the elections.

Obama danced elegantly enough in the space provided for him by Todd's question.

Todd performed a little abrasion to maintain his journalistic credibility, but he never got back to the hypothetical character who was supposed to fixate our empathy, the poor immigrant who is deported in the period of the delay. And Todd retreated to a question that essentially adopted Obama's explanation for the delay. "But the public's not behind you" and "Are you concerned the public wouldn't support what you did?" are helpful, friendly questions that allow Obama to say that the delay is about the need to build public support, which is perfectly acceptable politics.

So by the end of all this talky-talk, we're distantly alienated from the accusation that Obama is making official decisions to coordinate with the struggles of the Democratic Party candidates in the fall elections.

45 comments:

Michael K said...

Todd is more an example of "homophobic slurs" than ARM's comment on the other thread. Obama is determined to break the law and dares Republicans to try to do something about it. The border story has entered a new chapter, What do we do when the president does not "faithfully execute the laws ?"

bgates said...

What do you tell the person that's going to get deported before the election

He could imagine that person as a Republican offended by the myriad unconstitutional power grabs in Obamacare and sneer, "It's the law."

Bobber Fleck said...

Profiles in courage: Mary Burke and Barack Obama bravely stake out controversial positions that rise above partisan politics and seek only the greater good.

Anything good on TV tonight?

Wade Calvert said...

Someone said Chuck was gonna give Obama a blow job this morning on MTP. Sounds like that happened. Glad I missed it

PB Reader said...

You have to be an absolute criminal or moron to support Obama or any other democrat that has been carrying water for Obama. This is really bad.

Bob Ellison said...

You write of "politics" and of a "political lie", and about "policy".

People do not understand the distinction you are trying to draw. Indeed, Obama does not understand a difference between politics and policy. Certainly Chuck Todd doesn't, either.

Pundits keep talking and writing about whether something or other, like Obama's decision to wait a few months to violate immigration law, as though it's a question of whether "politics" is in play. Grow up! Politics is everything on the left.

rhhardin said...

I don't follow who the audience for this is supposed to be.

The media and their soap opera women.

Can the narrative sustain ratings or is the narrative hopeless.

Dan Hossley said...

We can all agree now that Obama, given a choice, will most likely lie.

google is evil said...


I will say what I always say when BHO talks of the importance of immigration reform ... "07, 08, 09, 2010". In each of those years there was more than enough votes in Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. But the Democrats either blocked in or ignored it. In fact BHO lead the way stop the reform that Bush had worked for years to pass. Why because the left wouldn't allow Bush have this success.

I am an Hispanic Republican who supports immigration reform, and have for years. I do see the logic though in those who are concerned that any bill passed will not be worth the paper is printed on, as it will be selectively enforced.

He is such a narcissistic jerk. He doesn't care about anything but power and money for his 1%ers. This executive action will not solve anything, and will most likely be challenged in the court for year. He is playing politics with millions of people's lives. I can not find the words to express how soulless an callous this empty one is!

rcocean said...

So Obama is ignoring the immigration laws and poised to do something unheard of in US History, something that is opposed by a majority of Americans.

And all left-wing Chuck Todd can do is ask "What about the poor illegal aliens?"

Incredible.

richard mcenroe said...

Like Obama and Holder are going to let one person be deported they can't prevent...

richard mcenroe said...

Wade: It was the first time I ever saw fellatio live on network TV...

C R Krieger said...

If the President has the authority to make these changes he has had it for near on to six years, and yet has done nothing.  That makes it sound like dereliction of duty.

The only other explanation is that he lacks the authority, and knows it, and he is trying to run a bluff.

Regards  —   Cliff

traditionalguy said...

The ease with which B. Hussein Obama always lies about everything is the tell that he is a Muslim in his heart.

Bob Ellison said...

You make a good point, C R Krieger. If Obama follows the logic of Obama's own rhetoric, then he must convict himself of dereliction.

He does not recognize that as an offense, though. Obama does not see failure to follow the law as malfeasance. He also does not recognize breaking promises as doing anything wrong.

He sees gaining power as a good thing, insofar as it invests power in himself, the do-gooder-in-chief. He's obviously bored in that job now, but still, he can't find a way to put someone else in the job. If he could retire and put Valerie Jarrett in the Oval Office, then fine! That might be great.

In the meantime, anything goes, as long as it gains power. The acquisition of power is the moral that justifies the desire to gain power. Larry Niven wrote of gods who were so powerful that they created themselves.

Bob Boyd said...

Spit swallow or get out of the way.

William said...

He's nowhere near as good a liar as Clinton. Clinton set the gold standard for lying. I don't mean to be judgmental or harsh, but, when it comes to lying, Obama is in a different weight class......Obama covers his equivocations with pauses and banal generalities, but Clinton was emphatic and finger waving when he laid one on you. Obama is so vague and boring that you lose focus and he thus escapes in the fog of bomfog. Clinton held your attention and really tried to sell his lies. How can you trust a man who doesn't believe in his own lies?

William said...

I must say that Obama looked genuinely contrite when he talked about the "optics" of playing golf so soon after announcing the death of the hostage. He wasn't sorry about playing golf, but he was sorry about the optics. "If any were offended by my passing out in a pool of vomit and urine at your mother's funeral, I would like to say I'm truly sorry for the optics involved." Well, anyway it's a start.

MayBee said...

Exactly, rcocean.

chrisnavin.com said...

Forget it, Jake, it's Obama.

Revenant said...

When a person makes a point of mentioning how honest they are, they're dishonest.

It doesn't occur to honest people that they need to mention their honesty.

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eddie willers said...

Bob Boyd wins the thread.

Zach said...

You know what word doesn't appear in the entire transcript?

Illegal.

That means the hard hitting interviewer never asked the one hard hitting question that is on everyone's mind:

"It's illegal to do this by executive order, isn't it?"

The Obama administration has a terrible, terrible record when these issues make it to the Supreme Court. Somehow, the person in the loop who is supposed to make sure that the government takes defensible legal positions is not being heard.

You might say that the legal question pales next to the policy question, but I'm not sure that's true. This is a huge, emotionally charged issue, the President is planning to enact the least popular policy addressing that issue, and all he's got in the way of legal arguments is transparent sophistry and evasions.

That means there's going to be two years of nonstop confrontations and legal crises. If you could attack an unpopular president with an unpopular policy whose only defense is transparently self-serving gobbledegook, wouldn't you do it?

There's starting to be a pattern to the repeated Obama failures, and step one occurs when he overreaches and tries to drive opponents away from the bargaining table. Then he ends up with an extreme policy that nobody really supports and is legally dubious. Once that happens, he's locked into it, because *any* changes from any source, wise or unwise, will force a rethinking of the whole policy.

Could we maybe plan ahead this time and *not* do that?

eric said...

To be honest, which is what, I'm being honest now, sounds like, doesn't necessarily mean he is lying.

Of course, he is probably lying quite often. But, I've learned over the years though thousands of interviews that such expressions just mean, I know I have to speak now, otherwise there will be an uncomfortable silence, but I haven't yet decided what I'm going to say. Therefore, I'll say, to be honest, to fill the dead air, and simultaneously give me time to think of what to say.

SOJO said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bgates said...

That means the hard hitting interviewer never asked the one hard hitting question that is on everyone's mind

Maybe he phrased it as "It's undocumented to do this by executive order, isn't it?"

Iapetus said...

I agree with eric. Obama has never shown the skill of being able to think and talk at the same time, which is why he has relied on teleprompters and why he is prone to making gaffes when he goes off script. This is a skill that REAL college lecturers who have to stand up in front of a class learn pretty damned quickly if they hope to survive. Barry apparently never developed that skill in the Constitutional law course he "taught". Some orator. Sheesh.

n.n said...

He is not being honest. Obama has demonstrated repeatedly that he is not worried about creating moral hazards. Not in America, Mexico, or anywhere else. He doesn't think of the American children. He doesn't think of the Mexican children. His motives are purely opportunistic. Democrats are corrupt in principle and practice. Republicans need to remember their principles and practice them.

avwh said...

If illegal immigrant amnesty is so damned important & urgent now to require executive action, why was it ignored for the two years Obama and the Dems controlled both houses of Congress?? And the 2 years after that, when Obama still had some political capital to spend?

And why doesn't ANY "reporter" ask those questions of the genius in the WH?

Only AFTER no voters can punish Obama or his party while he's still in office, does he plan to take this executive action? What a profile in courage he is.

bbkingfish said...

Who counted the words?

tim in vermont said...

"homophobic slurs"? Tell you what ARM and Garbage, come up with a more fitting metaphor that describes the situation accurately.

Moneyrunner said...

If you really wonder whether Liberals inhabit their own mental universe – totally oblivious to the rest of America - Todd’s question illustrates it perfectly. He begins his question with the premise that the problem is the illegal alien who is going to get deported. From there on, the answer is really unimportant. I wonder if Althouse, living in a community of Liberals understands this

betamax3000 said...

From a Drudge link:

"A respiratory illness that has already sickened more than a thousand children in 10 states is likely to become a nationwide problem, doctors say.

The disease hasn't been officially identified but officials suspect a rare respiratory virus called human enterovirus 68. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the virus is related to the rhinovirus, which causes the common cold. "

We have countless disease reports among the children crossing the border, and they are being shipped to states with no transparency, and now 'mysterious' diseases are cropping up in schools across the country?

Perhaps a coincidence; if not, would we be told the truth, anyway?


David said...

Of course, you tell a lie, a political lie that everyone knows is a lie. Notice that Todd doesn't bother to ask: Aren't you going to have to lie? He's just asking exactly how will Obama phrase the lie.

That's where we are. And the press plays along.

J Lee said...

Several of the above posters nailed it with the ideological direction of Todd's questioning of Obama.

After hearing people say Chuck and NBC were so in the tank for the president he'd offer up no hard questions at all during the interview, Todd had to do something to dispel that notion. But he came at Obama not from the angle of where the majority of Americans are angry with the president on immigration, but instead from the angle of Chicago Congressman Luis Gutierrez, the loudest proponent for immediate executive action by Obama to grant amnesty for illegal immigrants.

David Gregory could have asked that question -- NBC didn't need to change moderators on "Meet the Press" to find someone who would grill the president based on the ways he's disappointed the left, as opposed to his failure to meet his campaign promises to the moderate swing voters who put him in office. As a former Tom Harkin staffer, Todd's angle of questioning isn't surprising. But it's also not going to get NBC back those Sunday morning viewers they lost when Gregory replaced Tim Russert as MTP host.

tim in vermont said...

"We have countless disease reports among the children crossing the border, and they are being shipped to states with no transparency, and now 'mysterious' diseases are cropping up in schools across the country?" - betamax3000

Beta is a Raaacccisst, beta is a raaacccissst!

chillblaine said...

"This problem with unaccompanied children... got a lot of attention."

The American people were accidentally exposed to actual information that got mixed into their soma / TV feeding tube.

"But it's going to be more sustainable and more effective if the public understands what the facts are on immigration."

We need to make up some new lies to sell you this bill of goods.

MayBee said...

Several of the above posters nailed it with the ideological direction of Todd's questioning of Obama.

... But he came at Obama not from the angle of where the majority of Americans are angry with the president on immigration, but instead from the angle of Chicago Congressman Luis Gutierrez, the loudest proponent for immediate executive action by Obama to grant amnesty for illegal immigrants.


Facsinating, isn't it?

and BetaMax, interesting observation about the mystery illness.

Writ Small said...

So Obama was willing to circumvent Congress with an extra-Constitutional executive order because of the dire situation of the border crossers, but he's not willing to do the same thing if it means a small political disadvantage for his party during the upcoming mid-terms?

Got it.

Cornroaster said...

" Somehow, the person in the loop who is supposed to make sure that the government takes defensible legal positions is not being heard." - Zach
When we have the smartest POTUS in History who was also a Professor of Constitutional Law, no such person is needed. Who would tell the Emperor he has no clothes?

RecChief said...

The question Chuck should have asked:

"What do you say to the union workers, unemployed, and lower economic classes when you unilaterally declare amnesty after the election?"

Why should any president care about what needs to be said to someone who has illegally entered this country? All that "citizen of the world" bullshit aside, the person being deported isn't a constituent of an American President.

RecChief said...

perhaps The Crack Emcee could explain how allowing millions of illegal immigrants, who are generally low skilled workers, is actually a good thing for African-Americans, and is the opposite of racism against them?

Unknown said...

RC, pick one:

Because Obama is black.

Because more power.

Because shut up, rayciss!

Because this gets me one step closer to $100 trillion dollars.

tim in vermont said...

Waves of cheap unskilled labor create an imperative, move up the economic ladder to take advantage of the growth, or get rolled under it to find an even lower bottom.

I am sure I will be OK whatever happens. But I kind of like the people who mow my lawn and cut my trees clean my house, as, you know, people. I don't see them going back to college to move up the skill ladder, but I guess they will have to.