Ahead of President Obama’s speech on immigration reform today, Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren hosted Karl Rove last night to discuss what Obama “should say” on the issue. Instead, Rove took the opportunity to lie about the president’s record while accusing him of acting “cynical” on immigration in order to “jazz up Latinos and to get them to vote” for him.
Using a whiteboard as a prop, Rove ticked off a series of dates to support his claim that the Obama administration has done “nothing to lay the groundwork” for immigration reform:
— “President Obama, from January to January of last year to this year, did nothing to lay the groundwork for this — no meetings, no visits, no discussion whatsoever.”
— “In fact, in January of this year, Greta, the president mentioned this in the State of the Union address. Out of 7,290 words, he devoted 38 to the issue of immigration reform.”
— “In fact, you know, he said nothing else about it until March 19th.”
— “Then on the 28th of April, after he gets health care reform passed and doesn’t need Luis Gutierrez’s vote any longer, he says, Well, you know what? I don’t think there’s any immediate appetite to take up the issue this year.”
— “But then he realizes by the 5th of May that this might be a good political issue, that while he can’t get the bill passed this year, he can begin to lay the predicate among Latinos that he is their friend and Republicans are their enemy. So on the 5th of May, he says, I want to begin work this year.”
“This is cynical and it is hypocritical and it’s political with an issue that ought to be treated sincerely, honestly and outside of politics as much as possible,” declared Rove. Watch it:
Rove’s claim that Obama had “no meetings, no visits, no discussion whatsoever” about immigration in 2009 is completely false. On June 25, 2009, Obama held a bipartisan meeting with members of Congress to discuss immigration. Rove’s claim that after this year’s State of the Union, Obama “said nothing else about immigration reform” until March 19 is also false. On March 11, Obama issued a statement after a meeting with Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on the issue, saying that his commitment to reform was “unwavering.”
It’s true that Obama did frustrate immigration advocates when he told reporters on April 28 that Congress may not have “an appetite immediately to dive into” reform. The next day, however, he declared that “we can no longer wait to fix our broken immigration system.”
There’s no doubt that reform advocates have been frustrated with the pace of the Obama administration’s efforts to push comprehensive immigration reform and would like to see more concrete action. But Rove has no standing to claim the administration isn’t treating the issue “honestly” when he outright lies about their record.