Obama Concedes a Poor Choice of Words on 'Enemies'

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In an interview with talk show host Michael Baisden this afternoon, President Obama pulls back a word, replaces it, and makes the same point:

And you know, it's interesting right now, there was a -- I had a conversation with a Hispanic radio outlet, Univision, and during the course of that conversation, one of the things that I had to say to the Latino community, which is frustrated that we haven't seen progress on immigration reform, was that they can't sit out of this election. There were arguments being made that because Democrats hadn't gotten this done, that Latinos should vote against Democrats or just sit out the election.

And I said, well, you can't punish your friends when -- the folks who've been supporting it. Now, I did also say if you're going to punish somebody, punish your enemies, and I probably should have used the word, "opponents" instead of enemies. Now the Republicans are saying that I'm calling them enemies. What I'm saying is you're an opponent of this particular provision, comprehensive immigration reform, which is something very different.

But the key issue here is that if you are supportive of comprehensive immigration reform, if you are supportive of health care reform, if you are supportive of making sure that credit card companies are treating us fairly, making sure that banks are properly regulated so they don't end up getting taxpayer bailouts -- if you support those things, then you've got to support those who helped to put those provisions into law. And you've got to make sure that those who are opposed to that legislation, that they get a clear message that they shouldn't be standing in the way of the progress, but rather we should be moving this country forward.
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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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