Obama just finished his speech before the same group Mitt Romney spoke to yesterday, and it's pretty clear which guy the crowd preferred. Some of that has to do with the pomp that comes with being president. When Romney finished speaking, he received polite applause and simply walked off stage right. No one to hug or kiss, see ya later. When Obama finished, a band started up, or at least a recording of some Sousaesque flourish, and he shook hands as dozens of cell phone went up.
Obama may be the most prolific deporter among recent presidents, but he was very well received. He emphasized (obviously, without reference to the deportations) that he's on their side, and Romney is on the other side (the rich side). He went after the Republicans on the Dream Act and other measures, noting that they, or some of them, backed the act before. The facts hadn't changed, the need hadn't changed, he said; "the only thing that had changed is the politics."
Which I thought was a weak line. How about saying: "But the only thing that had changed was that Obama became president, and they weren't and still aren't gonna vote for anything if they think it might help make Obama look good. In other words, they put making me look bad ahead of doing something good for you!" That would've had 'em on their feet and would have been much more in-your-face. "The politics" is so vague and tweedy. I hope against hope that he learns how to go for the jugular sometime soon.
Meanwhile, a Romney adviser told the Daily Telegraph just today that Romney "would probably rescind" the directive Obama announced last week. I don't know this man, I don't know if he was freelancing here or really was directed to say this, and I don't know how the Telegraph managed to get it, but there it is.
If this holds up without the Romney people retracting it or otherwise tap dancing around it, he's basically done with Latinos, who will interpret this week's actions as: Romney begins the week being too big a coward to take a position on Obama's new directive; he then has a spotlight gig to take a position, and is still too cowardly to take one; finally, even the tiny little steps he did announce proved too much for the GOP base, so they send an adviser out to reassure the base that Romney will stand tall against the brown tide. Nice week.
Don't have an hour to watch President Obama pontificate on the future of national security? No worries! Watch the key moments from his speech in less than 250 seconds.
Barbara Lee was probably the most prescient person in post-9/11 Washington, says Michael Tomasky.