Alex Witt | May 04, 2013
>>> president obama is wrapping up his visit to mexico and central america today by speaking with a group of business leaders in costa rica at the top of the hour. the president has addressed several issues, including immigration reform . in today's weekly address the president stressed his support for the bill recently introduced in the senate .
>> this bill is a compromise which means that nobody got everything they wanted, including me, but it's largely consistent with the principles i have laid out from the beginning. these are common sense steps that the majority of americans support. there's no reason immigration reform can't become a reality this year.
>>> joining me now white house reporter for "the washington post " david knack murrah and political reporter lauren fox. david , i want to start with you. your latest article in the post is entitled, president obama prods liberals to give and take on senate immigration bill . what is the president willing to give to ensure that this bill passes?
>> what's happening is the white house knows there's going to be a growing opposition to key portions of the bill that they really want, including the path to citizenship which is probably the most controversial, and so what i wrote about this week is the white house was telling the liberal advocates who are supportive overall of the bill is, yes, you may have some concerns about individual pieces on this bill, but we need to support it through the senate process and not push too hard to make changes because any changes that the liberals want to make will make it even harder for this bill to get through not only the senate but, of course, in the house where there's already mounting opposition. what the president is telling people and he said it again ned in his press conference in costa rica , he said i'd like to better bill. i'm not in favor of all the pieces of this bill, but right now it's our best chance of getting this through. let's fight for the overall framework. once we get that in place, there may be areas to sort of come back to and address in the future, but right now the president is saying he's putting all his chips in and saying this is the best bet to get past the partisan gridlock we have seen.
>> lauren , tames your latest article cites new polling that shows the public is losing interest in immigration reform following the recent events in boston. senate leaders hope to get 70 votes for the measure. is that wishful thinking at this point?
>> i think that they have to get a large number of votes to show the house that they have enough support among the republican caucus and that there are enough republicans on board to kind of quell some of the concerns by social conservatives and conservatives in the house who don't have latino voters in their district that they're depending on for re-election. i think that there is a little bit of concern among the public. it seems like support for things like a path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants who either came here by crossing the border illegally or by overstaying visas, there's a lit bit of trepidation with public support for that, and there also is a little bit of concern that in doing a broad sweeping bill of immigration reform could create some kind of environment that would invite more terrorist attacks. of course, a lot of democrats in the senate have said, you know, that's absolutely false and what we need to do is we need to redo our immigration system to make sure that none of these things happen in the future.
>> and, david , in costa rica yesterday, president obama commented on senator leahy's plans to add an maement that would let gays sponsor a partner.
>> i think the provision is the right thing to do. i can tell you i'm not going to get everything i want in this bill. republicans are not going to get everything that they want in this bill.
>> republican senator marco rubio warned that the amendment could kill the immigration bill and senator jeff flake called it a, quote, deal breaker for most republicans. how does the president resolve this particular issue?
>> that goes back to sort of what i was talking about before. the president does support this bill. it would affect about 40,000 couples who have partners overseas who can't come on a spouse yalg visa because the federal law -- the defense of marriage act doesn't allow those partners to be recognized as legally married. the problem for the president is he supports it, he put it in principle that is he released but he didn't stump for it. they want to make sure nothing derail this is bill for these 11 million illegal immigrants who have been fighting for citizenship and a lot of those latino voters who support that. i think what you're seeing is the president will voice support but i'm not sure he and administration will fight too hard for that provision right now. whether senator leahy goes forward as he has promised to do and how much that gets hashed out in the senate process will be interesting to see. my guess is that you're not going to see that amendment go forward because of republican opposition.
>> the nra is holding their annual convention in houston. many have criticized the president. let's listen.
>> this president flying grieving parents on air force one making them backstops in his perpetual campaign style press events. we have leaders who practice the politics of emotion.
>> let me make this perfectly clear, we will never back away from our resolve to defend our rights and the rights of all law had been abiding american gun owners.
>> and lauren , quickly because we're short on time, weaver seen polls show that some of the senators who voted in favor of the background check bills are getting a boost and some who voted against it are suffering in the polls. is the politics changing despite the nra's consideration that this was a victory for them?
>> one of the landmark issues was kelly ayotte was approached by one of the victim's daughters. there's a lot of public support and a lot of senators are feeling the heat on this. after talking to many of the members and their staffs, there aren't a lot of people who are thinking about changing their votes back.
>> all right. we'll have to leave it there. david and lauren , thank you so much for being with me this afternoon.