Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tells ABC News President Obama is "deliberately divid[ing] Americans against each other"
After President Obama announced his executive order allowing young illegal immigrants to avoid deportation for at least two years, national news outlets noted how it caused problems for presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, who was starting a massive multi-state bus tour at the same time.
But one other Republican who saw his thunder stolen was Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who has sometimes struggled to talk about immigration in ways which are sensitive to his Hispanic voter base in South Florida, but don't repel tea party conservatives wary of any deal which allows people in the country illegally now to stay.
In an interview with ABC News scheduled to air on World News and Nightline this evening, Rubio tells anchor David Muir Obama is "deliberately divid[ing] Americans against each other for purposes of political gain. ... If you look at this White House they never pass up an opportunity to pit one group of Americans against another for purposes of improving his electoral chances," he said.
"Time and again, whether it is one group of Hispanics against another, men against women, rich against poor, he is constantly looking for opportunities to tell one group of Americans that they would be better off if one group of Americans was worse off. I think that while that is common in politics, it's not just Obama, it's common in politics. But what I think is really sad is that he had a chance to be different and in 2008 he was different."
But Obama has a track record of trying to compromise with Republicans, only to see hardliners try to scuttle the process -- even as important deadlines drew near for Congress to apporve raising the country's debt limit.
Back in April, the New York Times reported on how Rubio was trying to convince conservative members of his own party -- including Romney -- to support a version of the DREAM Act which would give young illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship.
According to an ABC News release: "Rubio, 41, has been working for months on his own immigration proposal, unfinished legislation that was similar to the DREAM Act but did include citizenship provisions. When he heard the White House's announcement Friday, he had one question, "Why wouldn't someone [from the White House] call me?"
He added: "I'm trying to find a solution here not a talking point. I'm trying to find an answer here, not a bumper-sticker slogan," Rubio told Muir in the Friday interview. "The president's is a two-year solution that expires after two years and does not really solve this in a lasting way. It just gets him through the election. ... The White House never called us about this. No one reached out to us and told us this was on its way. And, I mean, if they were serious about a real solution to this problem and not politicizing it, then why don't you reach out to people."
Rubio has been mentioned as a possible running mate for Romney, perhaps in part because the Miami native and son of Cuban immigrants would help the Republican party blunt Obama's inroads with Hispanic voters and bolster the GOP's hold on Florida voters.
Below is a clip from the ABC News interview which airs at 6:30 p.m. today on World News and 11:35 p.m. tonight on Nightline.