Former Department of Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano never met with President Obama as the White House debated the agency's 2012 proposal to suspend deportations for certain groups of undocumented immigrants. Instead, she defended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) idea to Obama advisers, suggesting that -- contrary to the public perception the administration sought to bolster -- immigration reform was not a top priority for the president as his reelection approached.

Napolitano described the genesis of DACA to The Post's Jerry Markon, in an interview supporting the idea of additional executive action on immigration (which Obama has proposed doing after the midterm elections). At the time that DACA was being considered, Obama was facing criticism for his administration's  accomplishments (or lack thereof) on immigration, even as his reelection campaign tried to encourage Latinos to vote. The DACA proposal was announced by DHS in June of that year with the administration's blessing, and was introduced by the president in remarks from the Rose Garden. Obama indicated that in the absence of passing the Dream Act, his administration had tried to improve on its deportation policies "carefully and thoughtfully," with DACA falling along that path.

At this point, Obama probably wishes that his key appointees were solely people who preferred to retire to microphone- and media-free caves. Napolitano's comments are the latest in a series of revelations and critiques from past members of Obama's Cabinet that cast the administration in varying degrees of negative light.

The most prominent recent example was from former defense secretary Leon Panetta, who said Obama "kind of lost his way" on foreign policy, criticizing the administration in interviews and a recent memoir. That followed a similar critique from Obama's first defense secretary, Robert Gates, whose memoir out earlier this year stated that Gates "never doubted Obama’s support for the troops, only his support for their mission." In her book, former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton listed a number of places where she'd disagreed with Obama. Earlier this month, former adviser David Axelrod said that Obama's comments about his policies being on the ballot in November was "a mistake."

On that scale, Napolitano's inadvertent suggestion that Obama might not have been personally invested in DACA is hardly the most damaging. But as the administration and Democrats try again to make the case that Latino voters should head to the polls, they would probably prefer that the origins of one of its best talking points also wait to be revealed until after Election Day.