During an interview Tuesday with the publisher and editor of the Des Moines Register, President Obama said that Republicans were helping his reelection run by alienating Latino voters, according to a full transcript of the talk that has now been made public.
Obama initially asked that the interview be off the record, prompting a public rebuke Tuesday night from Register editor Rick Green.
"Just two weeks before Election Day, the discussion, I believe, would have been valuable to all voters, but especially those in Iowa and around the country who have yet to decide between the incumbent Democrat and his Republican opponent," Green wrote.
There's nothing shocking in the interview; much of Obama's responses could come straight from a campaign speech. But at one point, Obama says: "And since this is off the record, I will just be very blunt. Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community."
The president explains that he's "confident we'll get ... immigration reform" next year, because after the election Republicans will realize their strategic mistake and have a "deep interest in getting that done."
Obama also rejected the idea that he could have worked better with congressional Republicans during his first term had he not pursued health-care reform. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the president said, "has imposed an ironclad filibuster from the first day I was in office."
Republican nominee Mitt Romney met with the paper's full editorial board earlier this month. His campaign allowed an audio but not a video recording of the conversation.