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Washington - Romney Plays It Safe, Obama Stirs the Pot on Immigration, Gay Rights

Published on: June 16, 2012 11:44 PM
By: AP
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Nick Thomas, 53, of Phoenix holds a sign thanking President Obama at the Arizona Democratic Party in Phoenix. President Barack Obama is easing enforcement of immigration laws, effective immediately. The new policy offers a chance for hundreds of thousands of younger illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. and work. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Carlos Chavez) Washington - There’s not much President Barack Obama can do to boost the economy in the next five months, and that alone might cost him the November election. But on a range of social issues, Obama is bypassing Congress and aggressively using his executive powers to make it easier for gays to marry, women to obtain birth control, and, now, young illegal immigrants to avoid deportation.

It’s a political gamble that might fire up conservatives, many of whom remain cool to Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Democrats think it’s more likely to inspire enthusiasm among groups that were crucial to Obama’s 2008 victory - young voters, women and Hispanics.

In relatively good times, a first-term president’s wide array of powers can force his challenger to shift from issue to issue, hoping to find a gap in the incumbent’s armor. This year, that scenario is practically turned on its head.

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Romney is the play-it-safe candidate, rarely straying from his jobs-and-economy talking points and sharply limiting encounters with national reporters. Romney took six hours Friday to offer a short and carefully worded comment that criticized Obama’s new immigration policy for not providing “a long-term solution.”

Romney didn’t say whether he would overturn it if elected. But by noting “it can be reversed by subsequent presidents,” he might have sown doubts in the minds of some young illegal immigrants studying the policy.

Obama looks like the bigger risk-taker. He doesn’t have many options.

He is constrained by a complex, interrelated and frail global economy, and by a Republican-run House. Together, they severely limit his ability to influence the struggling U.S. economy, which Obama says needs more investments in education, renewable energy sources and other areas.

Using executive powers and persuasion, however, Obama can expand the rights of gays and lesbians in civil and military life; direct Catholic-affiliated employer insurance plans to cover contraceptives; and protect hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants from being deported.

Obama took that last step Friday. It delighted many Hispanic groups while prompting Republican officials to grouse more about the process he used than the actual policy.

Democrats enjoy a hefty edge among Hispanic voters, and some GOP strategists fear Romney is widening the gap.

In the primaries, Romney criticized one rival, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, for granting in-state college tuition to illegal immigrants. The former Massachusetts governor also distanced himself from opponent Newt Gingrich’s call for making it clear the United States will not deport illegal immigrants who have led stable, crime-free lives in the United States for many years.

“This is the right thing to do,” Obama said in the Rose Garden as he outlined the new policy Friday.

Sidestepping Congress, where immigration proposals have languished for years, Obama acted to make illegal immigrants immune from deportation if they were brought to the U.S. before they turned 16 and are younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have no criminal history, graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED diploma or certificate, or served in the military.

Millions of people in the United States, especially younger voters, rallied to Obama’s 2008 campaign because they saw it as a barrier-breaking crusade giving voice to those weary of the Iraq war and falling economic opportunities. Democratic strategists hope to reignite some of that enthusiasm this year.

With significant economic gains so hard to achieve, a possible route is to be seen as expanding or protecting the rights of gays and lesbians, young Hispanics and young women.

Obama effectively ended the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 2010 by persuading Congress to enact the change, which activists warned he could do on his own if the lawmakers balked. He won more praise from gay activists last month when he embraced same-sex marriage, even if the move was largely symbolic. The bigger legal step was his 2011 decision not to enforce a federal law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Some Republicans denounced Obama’s deportation decision as pandering. It’s “patently political and self-serving,” and will do nothing to change the fact that jobs and the economy will determine the Nov. 6 election, said GOP strategist Danny Diaz.

But Congress’s Republican leaders were silent on the matter. Republicans know that Hispanic voters are crucial in Florida, Nevada and Colorado, and could make the difference in tight elections in Virginia and North Carolina.

Many Democrats hailed Obama’s move. “It’s the right thing to do for the country, and the right thing to do politically,” said veteran strategist Matt Bennett.” If Republicans directly challenge the decision, he said, it puts them “in the position of saying we should be attacking, legally, innocent children who did nothing wrong.”

Republican consultant Mike McKenna said Obama’s advisers “have obviously made a decision that they are going to win this election by energizing the base. Between this decision and the gay marriage emphasis, they have doubled down on their core and moved away from where most registered voters are.”

McKenna said the strategy might inspire activists on both the left and right to turn out to vote.

But Democratic campaign veteran Doug Thornell sees more gains than risks in Obama’s immigration decision.

“The Republican base is pretty inspired to beat Obama already,” Thornell said. For persuadable voters, he said, “this is in keeping with a president who does big and bold things.” Romney, he said, is “pretty vanilla.”

If the economy were humming, Obama might not need to do big and bold things. But a national unemployment rate of 8.2 percent forces him to take some chances.

That’s what he did Friday and briefly stole attention from the start of Romney’s five-day bus tour, whose theme is clear: jobs, jobs, jobs.



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Read Comments (18)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jun 17, 2012 at 12:09 AM Mark Levin Says:

Well there's no question whom they want to win. They want four more years of OblameO.

Romney has been "stirring the pot" by getting his message out. We already know a lot of what he will do on the first day of office - like rescind these anti Constitutional executive laws set forth by the Manchild. But of course AP won't cover it like they do OblameO.

2

 Jun 17, 2012 at 12:23 AM Anonymous Says:

Obama is like going to a 5 star restaurant and Romney is like going to that same cheap run down diner where you get your ham and eggs every time the same way.

3

 Jun 17, 2012 at 06:35 AM vitriol Says:

these are the death knells of a desperate administration. The indications in the Talmud are that Obama will get in for four more which may trigger the Messianic redepmtion if he has the audacity to invade the holy land (perhaps on the excuse of securing Israel after it attacks Iran). but lets hope that this does not happen. Mitt Romney actually has the appearance like a Messianic figure in some ways even though he is not Jewish. He is smart, decent, and goes after evil. Obama is evil no doubt - just look at the fact that he is using his executive powers for the evil segments of society (gays, illegals) but refuses to use it to free Jonathan Pollard. We are experiencing insitutionalized evil in the White House perhaps like never before - even Clinton who was personally no good pretended officially to be doing the right thing. This administration does not even pretend.

4

 Jun 17, 2012 at 07:44 AM tzaddik Says:

bad timing for Obama - 10+% unemployment and he is making it legal for illegals to grab some of those few available jobs - its a good idea - but poor timing

5

 Jun 17, 2012 at 08:02 AM bewhiskered Says:

"Obama is like going to a 5 star restaurant "

It's called politics, and the President (with the help of a clown show by the GOP) is playing it well. The GOP has completely alienated women (no contraceptives, trans vaginal ultra sound, against Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, etc.), and the President has taken advantage of that, as he would rightly be expected to. The GOP (with finger pointing Brewer) goes after Latinos. The President wisely counter punches with not deporting Latinos who came to this country at a very young age.. He's the best politician since Clinton. Now, if the President could only figure out how not to be black, he'd have his second term made!

6

 Jun 17, 2012 at 10:04 AM chayamom Says:

Reply to #5  
bewhiskered Says:

"Obama is like going to a 5 star restaurant "

It's called politics, and the President (with the help of a clown show by the GOP) is playing it well. The GOP has completely alienated women (no contraceptives, trans vaginal ultra sound, against Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, etc.), and the President has taken advantage of that, as he would rightly be expected to. The GOP (with finger pointing Brewer) goes after Latinos. The President wisely counter punches with not deporting Latinos who came to this country at a very young age.. He's the best politician since Clinton. Now, if the President could only figure out how not to be black, he'd have his second term made!

Stop making this a black / white issue. He should stop acting like a desperate idiot who wants to be dictator and take this country down! This has nothing to do with race and everything to do with his actions!

7

 Jun 17, 2012 at 10:41 AM Mark Levin Says:

Reply to #5  
bewhiskered Says:

"Obama is like going to a 5 star restaurant "

It's called politics, and the President (with the help of a clown show by the GOP) is playing it well. The GOP has completely alienated women (no contraceptives, trans vaginal ultra sound, against Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, etc.), and the President has taken advantage of that, as he would rightly be expected to. The GOP (with finger pointing Brewer) goes after Latinos. The President wisely counter punches with not deporting Latinos who came to this country at a very young age.. He's the best politician since Clinton. Now, if the President could only figure out how not to be black, he'd have his second term made!

You and your racism again. You accuse the right of racism but as a liberal you seem too incompetent to understand that the left has ALWAYS been full of racism thru this very day. How's Senator Robert KKK Byrd doing? When it came to civil rights it was the folks on the right doing the work!

Its not the color of his skin that we don't like, he could look like an offspring of Kermit & Miss Piggy for all we care, its his socialism that we despise and what we will vote out of office in about 140 days.

8

 Jun 17, 2012 at 11:49 AM SherryTheNoahide Says:

Reply to #6  
chayamom Says:

Stop making this a black / white issue. He should stop acting like a desperate idiot who wants to be dictator and take this country down! This has nothing to do with race and everything to do with his actions!

"He should stop acting like a desperate idiot who wants to be dictator and take this country down! "


I find it insulting, that people of the Book, AND people who have suffered TRUE holocousts & tragedies, would come on here & not only mock our President, but also compare him to Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, and the kinds of people who were truly responsible for the malicious deaths of millions & millions of people.

If you don't like his policies... FINE! But this nonsense about him being some "evil dictator" who's sole objection in life is to bring America down & kill all the Jews, is not only getting tiresome & old... but beyond offensive as well!

What do you know about dictatorship?! Have you opened a proper history book in your entire LIFE, to even begin to understand what the mind of a TRUE dictator looks like?! Or sat down & actually LISTENED to the victims (probably some of them members of your own family), of The Shoah, so that you could at least get just a TASTE of the brutality & torture that went on, during the regimes of some of the worst criminals in humanity?!

I'm only a gentile... but it sounds like *I* take more care w\my words when it comes to this issue than you!

9

 Jun 17, 2012 at 12:49 PM bewhiskered Says:

"He should stop acting like a desperate idiot who wants to be dictator and take this country down!"

"its his socialism that we despise and what we will vote out of office in about 140 days."

Awwww!! It appears I upset the rabid racists!! A dictator? Tell me, Clem. Does the term delusional have any special significance for you?

And, the other one doesn't even know what the term socialism means, other than repeating it from those who lead people like him around by the nose!

As stated prior, racists are too cowardly to admit to being just that! And you two, with your wild unproven accusations, fit the bill perfectly!

10

 Jun 17, 2012 at 01:04 PM esther Says:

Reply to #5  
bewhiskered Says:

"Obama is like going to a 5 star restaurant "

It's called politics, and the President (with the help of a clown show by the GOP) is playing it well. The GOP has completely alienated women (no contraceptives, trans vaginal ultra sound, against Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, etc.), and the President has taken advantage of that, as he would rightly be expected to. The GOP (with finger pointing Brewer) goes after Latinos. The President wisely counter punches with not deporting Latinos who came to this country at a very young age.. He's the best politician since Clinton. Now, if the President could only figure out how not to be black, he'd have his second term made!

i'm a woman and i don't feel alienated from the republican party. please don't lump women into one vast ,unthinking group. and stop with the black mishegas-that's what got him elected in the first place.

11

 Jun 17, 2012 at 01:20 PM bewhiskered Says:

Reply to #3  
vitriol Says:

these are the death knells of a desperate administration. The indications in the Talmud are that Obama will get in for four more which may trigger the Messianic redepmtion if he has the audacity to invade the holy land (perhaps on the excuse of securing Israel after it attacks Iran). but lets hope that this does not happen. Mitt Romney actually has the appearance like a Messianic figure in some ways even though he is not Jewish. He is smart, decent, and goes after evil. Obama is evil no doubt - just look at the fact that he is using his executive powers for the evil segments of society (gays, illegals) but refuses to use it to free Jonathan Pollard. We are experiencing insitutionalized evil in the White House perhaps like never before - even Clinton who was personally no good pretended officially to be doing the right thing. This administration does not even pretend.

"The indications in the Talmud are that Obama will get in for four more which may trigger the Messianic redepmtion....."

And, exactly where in the Talmud is the source for this sop? From where are you mindlessly extracting this dribble? The only indication that is clear from your post is that you hate the President (and, we all know why)!

12

 Jun 17, 2012 at 02:01 PM MidwesternGuy Says:

Reply to #5  
bewhiskered Says:

"Obama is like going to a 5 star restaurant "

It's called politics, and the President (with the help of a clown show by the GOP) is playing it well. The GOP has completely alienated women (no contraceptives, trans vaginal ultra sound, against Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, etc.), and the President has taken advantage of that, as he would rightly be expected to. The GOP (with finger pointing Brewer) goes after Latinos. The President wisely counter punches with not deporting Latinos who came to this country at a very young age.. He's the best politician since Clinton. Now, if the President could only figure out how not to be black, he'd have his second term made!

Liberals can't help themselves when they look at the electorate as a collection of social and racial sub-groups. You describe it pretty well, and can't seem to get past it.

Rather than looking at what's best for all Americans, regardless of their skin color, religion, or sexual preference, you insist on keeping Americans balkanized into little groups with their supposedly individual needs.

Shame on you. Start treating all Americans the same way, and then we can talk about legitimate differences. Until then, keep your politics of race, religion, gender, color, and sexual preference away from here.

13

 Jun 17, 2012 at 02:07 PM Midwestern Guy Says:

Reply to #8  
SherryTheNoahide Says:

"He should stop acting like a desperate idiot who wants to be dictator and take this country down! "


I find it insulting, that people of the Book, AND people who have suffered TRUE holocousts & tragedies, would come on here & not only mock our President, but also compare him to Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, and the kinds of people who were truly responsible for the malicious deaths of millions & millions of people.

If you don't like his policies... FINE! But this nonsense about him being some "evil dictator" who's sole objection in life is to bring America down & kill all the Jews, is not only getting tiresome & old... but beyond offensive as well!

What do you know about dictatorship?! Have you opened a proper history book in your entire LIFE, to even begin to understand what the mind of a TRUE dictator looks like?! Or sat down & actually LISTENED to the victims (probably some of them members of your own family), of The Shoah, so that you could at least get just a TASTE of the brutality & torture that went on, during the regimes of some of the worst criminals in humanity?!

I'm only a gentile... but it sounds like *I* take more care w\my words when it comes to this issue than you!

Sherry, without getting into the bombastic language, one thing is clear: the President himself said a little while ago that he would not enact by Executive Order something that should be handled by an act of Congress.

And now, under the guise of "doing something" and now, under the guise of a "stopgap measure", the President has done exactly that.

Our system has checks and balances in order to prevent the President from taking unilateral action to enact legislation. That's the way things are supposed to work.

Unfortunately, the President has shown a pattern of enacting de facto laws such as this, as well as ignoring (not enforcing) other laws, such as the Defense of Marriage Act. This gives the appearance of picking and choosing which laws to enforce, which really is the definition of tyranny.

14

 Jun 17, 2012 at 02:11 PM bewhiskered Says:

Reply to #10  
esther Says:

i'm a woman and i don't feel alienated from the republican party. please don't lump women into one vast ,unthinking group. and stop with the black mishegas-that's what got him elected in the first place.

"i'm a woman and i don't feel alienated from the republican party."

So sorry. I should have explained in my post that the GOP did not alienate women who are racists! If my posts upset you, don't read them!!

15

 Jun 17, 2012 at 02:16 PM bewhiskered Says:

Reply to #12  
MidwesternGuy Says:

Liberals can't help themselves when they look at the electorate as a collection of social and racial sub-groups. You describe it pretty well, and can't seem to get past it.

Rather than looking at what's best for all Americans, regardless of their skin color, religion, or sexual preference, you insist on keeping Americans balkanized into little groups with their supposedly individual needs.

Shame on you. Start treating all Americans the same way, and then we can talk about legitimate differences. Until then, keep your politics of race, religion, gender, color, and sexual preference away from here.

"Until then, keep your politics of race, religion, gender, color, and sexual preference away from here."

Pardon me, Clem! I was under the impression that we live in a free country, with a First Amendment. If my posts upset you (and, they certainly do), that's too bad! Have a nice day!

16

 Jun 17, 2012 at 05:11 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #15  
bewhiskered Says:

"Until then, keep your politics of race, religion, gender, color, and sexual preference away from here."

Pardon me, Clem! I was under the impression that we live in a free country, with a First Amendment. If my posts upset you (and, they certainly do), that's too bad! Have a nice day!

You are a racist.

17

 Jun 17, 2012 at 06:38 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
MidwesternGuy Says:

Liberals can't help themselves when they look at the electorate as a collection of social and racial sub-groups. You describe it pretty well, and can't seem to get past it.

Rather than looking at what's best for all Americans, regardless of their skin color, religion, or sexual preference, you insist on keeping Americans balkanized into little groups with their supposedly individual needs.

Shame on you. Start treating all Americans the same way, and then we can talk about legitimate differences. Until then, keep your politics of race, religion, gender, color, and sexual preference away from here.

Speaking of "balkanized", what did we see with Newt, Ron Paul and Santorum? A balkanized humanity of ignorance and wretchedness. And out of that we get Romney? Glad that I am not a GOP guy this year.

18

 Jun 17, 2012 at 11:46 PM MidwesternGuy Says:

Reply to #17  
Anonymous Says:

Speaking of "balkanized", what did we see with Newt, Ron Paul and Santorum? A balkanized humanity of ignorance and wretchedness. And out of that we get Romney? Glad that I am not a GOP guy this year.

First, look up "balkanized". You might learn something that would allow your comments to be something slightly more than mere non sequitors. Second, you never were a "GOP guy" anyway. That is all.

19

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