Obama Offers Civics Lesson to Hispanics

A testy President Obama, challenged on multiple fronts by an agressive correspondent during an interview with Univision Thursday, lectured Latinos on the U.S. system of government after being confronted with his failure to keep his promise to reform the U.S. immigration system.

“You promised that, and a promise is a promise, and with all due respect, you didn’t keep that promise,” Univision Correspondent Jorge Ramos reminded Obama in the kind of directness so often missing from White House correspondents’ questioning of the president.

Clearly annoyed, Obama blamed Congress for inaction on immigration, offering a haughty description of basic U.S. civics to make the point.

“We’ve had this conversation before,” Obama admonished Ramos. “There’s the thinking that the president is somebody who is all-powerful and can get everything done. In our system of government, I am the head of the exectuve branch. I’m not the head of the legislature; I’m not the head of the judiciary. We have to have cooperation from all these sources in order to get something done.”

Ramos, a Mexican immigrant, has lived in the United States for nearly 30 years, won eight Emmy awards for excellence in journalism, and presumably understands the U.S. system of government.

Let’s go to the videotape.

Note that Obama claims he didn’t promise to get “everything done, 100 percent,” apparently referring to his immigration agenda.

In fact, he did, he did make such a promise.

In 2008, Obama vowed to “put an end to the petty partisanship” and pass comprehensive immigration reform by the end of his first term by making it a “top priority.”

Obama instead made other initiatives his top priorities.

With Democrats in control of both the House and Senate – the ideal moment to pass whatever he wanted – Obama in 2009 first moved an $800 billion “stimulus” bill that was loaded with long-desired Democratic spending initiatives.

He then made a choice, deciding to spend the rest of his political capital not on immigration reform but on health care, successfully getting Congress to approve the initiative that mattered most to him and many Democrats, Obamacare.

Keith Koffler


Award winning journalist Keith Koffler has 16 years of experience covering Washington. As a reporter for CongressDaily, National Journal magazine, and Roll Call, Keith wrote primarily from the White House, covering three presidents and learning as few have the intricacies of the West Wing and the behavior and motivations of its occupants. While mainly stationed at the White House, he also extensively covered Congress and Washington’s lobbyists. Keith has also written for a variety of other publications, including Politico, The Daily Caller, and The London Observer. He currently writes regular opinion columns for Politico. He blogs at whitehousedossier.com.

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  • Maryhelen

    It seems America’s voters are not paying attention to the difference between what Obama says and what he does. In fact, it was that way the first time around, in 2008. He had a track record at that time, but with the media “in the tank” for Obama, and most people, including Catholics and immigrants (legal and otherwise) listening only to that media, I greatly fear he will be re-elected. Notice that these promises come at election time; are we too blind to see?

  • Mr. Ramos seems like the last real journalist in America. Would that he followed up with the obvious fact that for the first two years the president’s party controlled both houses of congress. I know it is a forlorn hope, but wouldn’t it be just grand if Mr. Ramos was one of the people pitching questions at the debates. It might make Romney states some specifics on the Immigration issue too.

  • Joy in Christ

    Obama says anything to gain an extra vote, including making promises he knows he will not keep. The man is a very good talker, but he knows nothing about foreign policy, the economy and running a country. Why would he allow a vulgar rap artist into the White House as a guest? Why would he give the Muslim Brotherhood millions of taxpayer money? Why would he give Pakistan billions for development? He gave Africa millions of dollars for birth control and abortions. Why? Why would he force Catholics to go against the Constitution, the 1st Amendment’s right to religious freedom?
    I am afraid of what else he will do to eliminate our freedoms if he gets elected.

  • Peter Nyikos

    Lately a number of headlines of Catholic Exchange seem a bit off the mark. This one seems to have been meant in irony, as was the lead paragraph.

    Something like “Did Obama Keep a 2008 Promise on Immigration Reform?” would not only have been more accurate, it might have attracted more readers, by putting the criticism where it belongs. The actual title seems less favorable to Hispanics than to Obama.

  • Peter Nyikos

    Debra Saunders did a really hard-hitting article, featured here in Catholic Exchange, of this same interview and its aftermath. Jorge Ramos’s challenge of President Obama was a lot more to the point than the little snippet one sees here, and McCain lambasted Obama for his failure to do much of anything about immigration reform. See: