From: Gillman, Todd [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, October 08, 2015 08:17 PM
To: Velz, Peter T. EOP/WHO
Subject: pool report #4/CHCI gala speech
Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute awards gala/ Walter E. Washington Convention Center
The crowd topped 2,000, per a CHCI spokesman.
The president got a very warm reception in his roughly 20-minute speech. Open press.
Rep. Linda Sanchez, the CHCI chair, shushed the crowed for Housing Secretary Julian Castro to do the introduction. Pool may have heard some “VP! VP!” echoing through the massive hall as he moved to the lectern.
“He promised to make health care a right, not a luxury for the lucky few,” Castro said of his boss. “On issue after issue, he’s delivered.”
Brief cheers went up when Castro said that Obama continues to fight to comprehensive immigration reform.
“This president came into office saying `si, se puede.’ …He’s championed the issues important to Latinos like no one who’s sat in the Oval Office before,” Castro said, calling the president “the best friend that Latinos have had in the Oval Office.”
The crowd roared as the president came onstage, and the vast majority remained standing as he spoke, many taking photos, many crowded toward the front.
Obama talked about improved rates of unemployment and fewer uninsured; improved relations with Cuba and much of Latin America; Dreamers; targeted immigration enforcement; etc. Lower deficits, lower rates of teen pregnancy etc.
“All of which makes you wonder, why are some of the folks who are running for my office so down on America?... They have invented this new reality” where 2008, with rising unemployment, two wars etc. “That was the golden era, apparently,” he said.
“There’s nowhere they want to go further backwards than on immigration,” Obama said, citing George W. Bush, a conservative from Texas, pushing immigration reform and warning against scaremongering about immigrants. “Think of how much better our economy would be if the rest of his party got his message.”
“Leadership is not fanning the flames of intolerance and then acting all surprised when a fire breaks out,” he said. “…The anti-immigrant sentiment that has infected our politics is not new but it is wrong.”
He called on politicians to “tell the truth,” that illegal border crossings are lower than they’ve been in decades, and immigration helps the economy. “Those are facts… America’s greatness does not come from building walls.”
The president is working a rope line.
Todd J. Gillman
Washington Bureau Chief
The Dallas Morning News