By Ana Arellano
There was no kid glove treatment for President Barack Obama as he appeared on Univision’s “Gran Encuentro,” the Spanish language channel’s second night of conversations with the two major presidential candidates. GOP candidate Mitt Romney was the focus of the “Great Meeting” Wednesday night in Miami before a partisan audience that both candiates requested.
Was there any chance viewers would hear anything new from Obama from these events that seemed little more than the usual stump speech? The program was different in one respect because unlike Romney, who has no presidential record to answer for, Obama does.
Univision anchor Jorge Ramos was quick to point out to Obama that he did not make good on his promise to pass comprehensive immigration reform in his first year as president. Both Ramos and his fellow anchor Maria Elena Salinas hammered away on the topic until he said he took “full responsibility.” (See video below to watch the exchange.)
Obama also had to answer for his attorney general’s handling of the bungled “Fast and Furious” campaign to trace guns moving illegally to Mexico that resulted in the death of a federal agent and scores of guns being turned over to criminals. Obama claimed President Bush began this program and his attorney general was not informed.
The president was also pressed about the increase in deportations during his administration. He claimed that he was targeting those who were in the penal system.
Obama attempted to score some points when he compared his views of immigration with those of Romney’s. “The candidate sitting here with you today is committed to comprehensive immigration reform, is committed to the Dream Act,” said Obama. “[I have] taken administrative action to prevent young people from being deported.
“That stands in contrast with the other candidate, who has said he would veto the Dream Act, he is uncertain about what his plan for immigration reform would be, and who considers the Arizona law a model for the nation and has suggested that the main solution for immigration is self-deportation.”
Obama was told of Romney’s statement that he would work for “100 percent of Americans.’” The president responded by pointing out that 47 percent of Americans did not vote for him and that he already was working for those who hadn’t voted for him. He also managed to slip in that if Romney believed that 47 percent of Americans are “victims” then he needs to get out more.
The Univision forums are what many consider a compromise after the network publicly criticized the Commission on Presidential Debates for not having Latino moderators and denying the network its request to host one of the debates. Co-sponsored by Facebook, both forums were streamed live in English on Facebook earlier in the day, then later dubbed in Spanish to air on Univision after primetime at 10 P.M.
Below is an 8-minute video (plus commercial) about the President’s answers on immigration in Spanish. You can also watch “Gran Encuentro” with Obama in English.
Photo from Univision.com video broadcast
By Ana Arellano