In Both Parties, Strategists Agree: Obama Should've Visited Border

Friday, 18 Jul 2014 05:04 PM

By Courtney Coren

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Republican political strategist Matt Keelen and Democratic strategist Jessica Tarlov will concede at least one point: President Barack Obama should have visited the southern border when he was in Texas.

But it's time for Republicans to get over it, Tarlov says.

"One of the things that he could do is try to stop this flow of children northward, and he had a great opportunity when he was in Texas to visit the border and make a statement and say, 'we're going to clamp down and make sure that this is not going to continue at the numbers that it's continuing,'" Keelen told Ed Berliner on "MidPoint" on Newsmax TV  Friday.

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"Unfortunately he chose to go to a fundraiser as opposed to going down and actually seeing the crisis for himself," Keelen said.

"At times the American president has to lead, and this is one of those times where he was given an opportunity to lead and he chose not to go down there, he chose to do politics instead. The only guy right now that's really leading on this crisis is Texas Gov. Rick Perry," he said.

Perry invited Obama to take a tour of the border when he was in Dallas a week ago to attend a fundraiser, but the president turned down the offer.

"This isn't theater," Obama said during a press conference in Dallas. "This is a problem. I'm not interested in photo-ops. I'm interested in solving a problem."

Tarlov told Newsmax that she and other Democrats thought the president should view the border, too.

"I would've liked to have seen him there, seeing things whether just for optics or just to really feel the full gravity of it, is an important thing," Tarlov explained.

"We talk about this when disasters happen all the time — Katrina, on 9/11 — we had the same conversations about where are the presidents when these things happen," she added. "And this border crisis is on the level of a natural disaster. I mean this is a legitimate thing, and he should've gone there."

"There are a lot of Democrats who are saying, 'Why couldn't he have gone a little bit out of his way to do it?'" she said.

"But he extended an olive branch to Rick Perry, and that got thrown back in his face," Tarlov said.

The Democratic strategist says at this point it "doesn't mean that we can't move forward."

"Republicans just harp on the same point over and over again," Tarlov said.

"Get over it. He didn't go to the border, he did have a fundraiser, but that doesn't mean that we can't get something done."

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