ORLANDO — A couple of hours before he speaks in Tampa, President Barack Obama acknowledged to a group of Hispanic leaders on Friday the struggling economy but said he was best equipped to carry the country forward and defended his action blocking deportations of young illegal immigrants.
"I refused to keep looking young people in the eye, deserving young people in the eye, and tell them 'Tough luck, the politics is too hard,' " Obama said.
He said his new policy is not "amnesty" but a short-term measure that lifts "the shadow of deportation," and he called on lawmakers to pass the Dream Act, which would provide a path to citizenship: "To those in Congress saying Congress should be the ones to fix this, absolutely."
Obama, who voted for the Dream Act while in the Senate, blamed Republicans for walking away from comprehensive reform. "The bill hasn't changed. The need hasn't changed. The only that has changed is politics."