After a resoundingly negative Republican congressional response last week to his executive action on immigration, Democratic President Barack Obama aired some criticism of his own Sunday about the legislators’ inaction on reform in this area.
The president laid out the case for his taking action on immigration reform and again called on leaders in the House of Representatives and Senate to “pass a bill” during an exclusive interview on ABC News’ “This Week.” Obama said: “Congress has a responsibility to deal with these issues. And there are some things that I can’t do on my own. What I do have is the legal authority to try to make the system better. Given the resource constraints that we have, we have to prioritize.”
During the interview, the president also touched on a number of other topics, such as the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., ongoing nuclear talks with Iran and even potential candidates in the next presidential election. Obama said he believes voters would likely embrace former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton or another Democratic nominee because he or she would have “that new car smell.”
Here are some of the thoughts the president shared during the interview on “This Week”:
Calling out Congress: “The primary response that I have to [House] Speaker [John] Boehner and others is: Go ahead and pass legislation. They don’t need me to act. In fact, I encourage them to act, but in the meantime what we’ve got to make sure of is, number one, that our borders are secure and what I’m doing is going to allow us to put more resources there.”
Ferguson: “You know, this is a country that allows everybody to express their views, allows them to peacefully assemble to protest actions that they think are unjust. But using any event as an excuse for violence is contrary to rule of law and contrary to who we are.”
Iran nuclear talks: “Our goal is never to resort to military actions as a first resort: Our goal is to solve a particular problem here, which is making sure Iran doesn’t trigger a nuclear arms race, doesn’t threaten the United States, can’t threaten allies like Israel.”
A possible 2016 presidential run by Clinton: “I am very interested in making sure that I’ve got a Democratic successor. So I’m going do everything I can, obviously, to make sure that whoever the nominee is successful. If she decides to run, I think she will be a formidable candidate, and I think she’d be a great president. ... I think the American people, you know, they’re gonna want, you know, that new car smell. ... [T]hey wanna drive somethin’ off the lot that, that doesn’t have as as much mileage as me.”
Read the full transcript of Obama’s interview on “This Week” here.