Interview with Obama Advisor David Plouffe

By This Week, This Week - June 17, 2012


STEPHANOPOULOS (voice-over): Good morning, and welcome to "This Week."

The battle is joined.

ROMNEY: Thank you so much.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Only June, it feels like October.

OBAMA: You can move this nation forward.

STEPHANOPOULOS: With dueling speeches on the economy and jobs.

ROMNEY: If you think the president's right when he said the private sector is doing fine, well, then he's the guy to vote for.

OBAMA: If you want to give the policies of the last decade another try, then you should vote for Mr. Romney.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The challenger's bus trip through the battlegrounds.

ROMNEY: I am going the win Pennsylvania.

STEPHANOPOULOS: As the president flexes executive muscle from the Rose Garden.

OBAMA: We are a better nation than one that expels innocent young kids.

ROMNEY: It's unfortunate that this sort of things comes up four-and-a-half months before the election.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is Obama's immigration announcement moral triumph or political power grab? Does Romney need more than a stalling economy to beat a sitting president? What must each campaign do to break a dead-even race? All that this morning with the president's senior adviser David Plouffe, and Romney campaign co-chair Tim Pawlenty joins our powerhouse roundtable with George Will, Austan Goolsbee, Katrina vanden Heuvel, and Matthew Dowd.

ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos. It's your voice, your vote. Reporting from ABC News election headquarters, George Stephanopoulos.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello again, and happy Father's Day to all the dads watching.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello again, and happy Father's Day to all the dads watching. And as you just heard, so much going on this week, and all our guests ready to weigh in, so let's get right to it with President Obama's senior adviser, David Plouffe.

Happy Father's Day, David.

PLOUFFE: To you, as well, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's begin with that immigration announcement the president made in the Rose Garden on Friday. Governor Romney has already criticized it. This morning, he's out in a new interview saying it was political, that if the president was serious about immigration reform, he would have gotten it done before now. What's your response?

PLOUFFE: Well, George, it's ironic coming from Governor Romney, who said he would veto the DREAM Act, whose immigration policy during the primary seemed to consist of just sending 11 million people home, asking them to self-deport.

We tried, as you know -- you covered it -- we've tried as hard as we can to pass both the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform. Congress has refused.

Now, this is not a permanent solution. This simply gives Homeland Security and our law enforcement officials the opportunity to enforce the law with some discretion and allows these young people, who came here many times early in their life, who want to serve in our military and work in our businesses and study in our colleges, the ability to apply for a two-year period for work authorization.

So we still need a permanent fix. The president would sign the DREAM Act tomorrow, the next day, the day after that. That's ultimately the only way to fix this, is for congressional action. But in the interim, this is a smart step by the Homeland Security Department.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But other Republicans have said it's an overstepping of the president's constitutional authority. Senator Jeff Sessions of the Senate Judiciary Committee says the president's -- this is a prosecutorial policy not to enforce plain law. And the president did seem to suggest last year that he couldn't take this kind of action on his own. Take a look.


OBAMA: There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system, that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as president.


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