President Barack Obama needs to stop blaming his predecessor for the nation’s ills, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales tells Newsmax.TV.
“I think this is his economy. I really do. I think this is his ‘War on Terror.’ Yes, I do believe that it’s well past time,” Gonzales, who served GOP President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007, said in an excluive interview at the Faith and Freedom conference in Washington, D.C.
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“To use his own words, President Obama said, ‘If I don’t have this economy turned around at the end of three years, then I don’t deserve a second term.’
“So, from that perspective, I would just ask the voters to listen to the president’s own words,” Gonzales said.
Watch our exclusive interview. Story continues below.
The highest-ranking Hispanic in the Bush White House said he objected to Obama’s decision on Friday to grant amnesty to certain children of illegal immigrants, both “on substance grounds and on procedural grounds.”
“Substantively, while I support helping kids who were brought here by their parents illegally, the fix — I call it a fix — doesn’t do anything about border security,” Gonzales said. “It doesn’t do anything about workplace enforcement. It doesn’t do anything about visa over-stayers. It doesn’t do anything with respect to the millions of undocumented immigrants who came to this country as adults. So, substantively, I’ve got a problem with it.
“Procedurally, I worry at the timing, quite frankly, in a presidential election,” he added. “It’s going to be viewed as strictly political. This is something, obviously, the president could have done on his own at any time during his first term.
“I think that, announcing you’re going to selectively not enforce the law subjects the president to unnecessary criticism that he’s not faithfully executing the office to which he was elected.
“I just think a much better approach is to deal with this very complicated problem, working with Congress through legislation, so that we have a comprehensive immigration policy that complements our economic policy, our national security policy. That’s the way you want to address this policy, not through executive order.”
Whether Hispanics openly embrace Obama’s reversal will depend on presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Gonzales said.
“For some Hispanics, they want these kids to be taken care of — and this is a way to do that, if we don’t get comprehensive immigration reform.”
“And so, now, Hispanics who support the policy, who support what President Obama has done here, are going to look to see what Gov. Romney does: Whether or not he supports bringing these kids, qualified kids, into some kind of legal status.
“And, maybe it’s not citizenship,” Gonzales added. “Maybe there’s no pathway to citizenship."
Gonzales said he recognizes that Florida's Sen. Marco Rubio — whose parents fled their native Cuba in the 1950s — has been working on legislation to deal with the problem, aiming to provide some kind of legal status so they can "stay in the only country they’ve ever known.”
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On whether the former Massachusetts governor can narrow the gap with Obama among Hispanics — a recent Gallup Poll shows the president leading 67 percent to 26 percent —Gonzales said: “The good news is, I still believe that there’s time.
“For many Hispanic families, like many American families, they’re not really focused on the elections just yet. They’re focused on getting food on the table, for planning an education for their children.
“As we get closer to the election, more and more Hispanics, like more and more Americans, are really going to take a hard look at where they are today: Is their life really better today than it was four years ago?
"I’m hopeful, being a Republican, that more Hispanics will say: ‘You know what? I like this vision from this governor, from Gov. Romney, his vision for America. I like that. It resonates with me. I want to give him a shot for the next four years.’ ”
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