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Entries in Univision (3)

Thursday
Sep202012

Obama Says He Can't Change Washington from Inside

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages(MIAMI) -- President Obama said Thursday the "most important" lesson he learned during his first term in the White House is that "you can't change Washington from the inside," a comment that prompted Mitt Romney to quip he intended to give Obama that chance on Election Day.

The president was speaking at a "Meet the Candidates" forum hosted by the Spanish-language network Univision when he was asked about his biggest failure.

The president said not enacting immigration reform legislation was his biggest failure, but went on to discuss his 2008 promise to bring change to Washington.

"The most important lesson I've learned is that you can't change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside," Obama said.

"That's how I got elected and that's how the big accomplishments like healthcare got done, was because we mobilized the American people to speak out. That's how we were able to cut taxes for middle-class families," the president said.

Obama said that in a second term he would maintain "a much more constant conversation with the American people" to attempt to leverage their support to spur Congress to act on his agenda.

Romney, who addressed the same Univision group Wednesday night, immediately seized on the remark, calling it a concession by Obama that he failed to change Washington in the way he promised four years ago.

"The president threw in the white flag of surrender. He said he can't change Washington from the inside," Romney told a crowd of supporters at a rally in Sarasota, Fla. "We're going to give him that chance in November, he's going outside. I can change Washington. I will change Washington. I will get the job done from the inside."

"His slogan was 'Yes, we can.' His slogan now is, 'No, I can't,'" said Romney. "This is time for a new president. He went from the president of change to the president who can't get change."

"I couldn't believe it when I heard him today," Romney continued.

The Republican hammered away at Obama's statement.

"Isn't that amazing? No wonder he's had such a hard time over the last four years," he said.

Romney noted that in Obama's first two years in office the Democrats also controlled Congress.

"He got to do whatever the heck he wanted to, but he says he can't change it from the inside. Well I will," Romney vowed.

Since Obama first accepted the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, he has spoken regularly about "change" being best affected by outside pressure on government from ordinary citizens.

"As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It's about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government," he said at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., earlier this month.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep192012

Romney Vows to Be President for 'the 100 Percent'

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images(MIAMI) -- Mitt Romney said three times in the opening 10 minutes of Wednesday night's Univision "Meet the Candidate" forum that his campaign is "about the 100 percent," a clear message to voters who have been swamped with sound bites and video clips that show the candidate suggesting he wasn't concerned about the nearly half of the country unlikely to vote for him.

"My campaign is about the 100 percent of America," Romney said to the University of Miami crowd. "And I'm concerned about them. Life has become harder for Americans. I know I'm not going to get 100 percent of the vote. And my campaign will focus on the ones who will vote for me. ... I'm convinced that if we take a different course, you'll see incomes rising. I have a record, I've demonstrated my capacity to help the 100 percent."

Faced with some tough questions about immigration, Romney repeated his stance that the best path forward was a wholesale overhaul of the system that would encourage people in the country illegally now to "self-deport" and try to enter again under new laws.

"Do you think you're going to self-deport 11 million immigrants?" Univision anchor Jorge Campos asked pointedly.

"I believe that people make their own choices as to whether they want to go home and that's what I mean by self-deportation," Romney replied, appearing to soften his message from the primary debates, in which self-deportation was forefront in his immigration plan. "People decide whether they want to go back to their country of origin and get in line legally to come to this country. Look, legal immigration is critical to this country. I love legal immigration."

When pressed further on the Arizona law that would require legal immigrants to provide papers in case they're arrested or stopped by police for any reason, Romney declined to take a firm position. At the time of the Supreme Court decision upholding most of the law, Romney would only say that President Obama "has failed to provide any leadership on immigration" and that states deserve the right to craft their own immigration laws when the federal government fails to do so. He said about the same on Wednesday night.

The Republican also answered questions about his plan to repeal Obama's health care law. When asked how he felt about the president and other Democrats calling him "the grandfather" of the new "Affordable Care Act," Romney laughed.

"I don't think they meant it as a compliment," he said, "but I'll take it. This was during my primary, we thought it might not be helpful."

Democrats have seized on the fact that Romney included an individual mandate -- similar to that in President Obama's law -- in his health care plan during his time as Bay State governor.

Romney also stuck by opposition to same-sex marriage. When asked whether he would react differently if one of his five sons were gay, the candidate said, "My kids are all married, so I'd be surprised."

The appearance on Univision, which will host President Obama in a similar setting Thursday afternoon, marks the beginning of a larger effort to connect with Latino voters, a core group Romney has had trouble swaying in the polls. He spoke at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Monday and will campaign across Florida in the coming days.

Romney acknowledged the problem with a quick joke at the beginning of Wednesday night's forum and, of course, during the now-infamous, secretly taped fundraiser in Florida.

Had his father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, been born Mexican rather than having just grown up there with expat U.S. parents, "I'd have a better shot at winning this," Romney quipped to a group of supporters in May. "I mean, I say that jokingly. But it would be helpful to be Latino."

One popular Hispanic politician who will not be at his side is New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, who is not, at this point, scheduled to make any joint appearances with Romney.

Gov. Martinez, honorary chair of the campaign's Hispanic outreach group, has been critical of Romney's comments dismissing 47 percent of the American electorate as freeloaders who would never vote against President Obama.

"We have a lot of people that are at the poverty level in New Mexico, but they count just as much as anybody else," Martinez said during a press conference Tuesday.

She also defended her state's social welfare programs.

"There is a net that does allow them to be caught and taken care of," she said, "whether it be through medical services, whether it be food services, whether it be with funding for apartments, for housing."

On Tuesday, super PACs pushing for the president's re-election revealed they'd purchased television time to run ads in six key swing states to put even more focus on the Romney tapes.

Weaving in Romney's more damaging rhetorical flights with images of "middle-class" families and workers, the Priorities USA spot, "Doors," opens with a shot of the lavish Florida mansion that hosted the May 17 fundraiser.

"Behind these doors Mitt Romney calls half the American people 'dependent on government, who believe they are victims," the narrator intones. Then, cutting to an image of a more modest, suburban home, a warning is delivered: "Behind these doors, middle-class families struggle and Romney will make things even tougher."

Romney responded to the criticism in a USA Today op-ed published Wednesday morning. There, he appeared to back off his harsh characterization of the "47 percent" of Americans he said don't pay income taxes but continue drawing money from entitlement programs.

"Under President Obama, we have a stagnant economy that fosters government dependency," Romney wrote. "My policies will create a growing economy that fosters upward mobility. Government has a role to play here. Right now, our nation's citizens do need help from government. But it is a very different kind of help than what President Obama wants to provide."

The Republican also assailed what he calls the "web of dependency" being sewn by the administration, promising to "pursue policies that grow our economy and lift Americans out of poverty."

The promises come in tandem with a revived effort -- Sen. John McCain tried a similar tactic in 2008 -- to paint President Obama as a closet socialist bent on "redistributing" American wealth.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar232011

President Obama Redefines the Term 'Exit Strategy'

The White House(WASHINGTON) -- In an interview with Univision Tuesday, President Obama re-defined the term “exit strategy,” and said the U.S.' exit strategy in Libya would begin this week.

“The exit strategy will be executed this week,” President Obama said, “in the sense that we will be pulling back from our much more active efforts to shape the environment. We will still be in a support role. We will be supplying jamming, intelligence and other assets unique to us."

Planes in the air? Ships in the Mediterranean? Intelligence being provided? Doesn’t sound like an exit strategy at all.

What it does recall is Lewis Carroll.

"'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

From the beginning of this suddenly-announced military campaign, the White House has been making great efforts to under-sell the U.S. role and emphasize the participation of European allies and Arab partners. Even those Arab partners like the UAE that ultimately didn’t contribute military assets as White House officials say they had been led to believe.

Last week, the president said “The United States will contribute our unique capabilities at the front end of the mission to protect Libyan civilians, and enable the enforcement of a no-fly zone that will be led by our international partners.”

Tuesday, Defense Secretary Gates, talking about who would take over for the U.S. and when, said, "this command and control business is complicated.  We haven’t done something like this, kind of on the fly before.  And so it’s not surprising to me that it would take a few days to get it all sorted out."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio