President Obama went to Nashville and sat down with prominent Latino journalists to do a public relations push for his executive action on immigration reform. One thing he didn't bet on: A reminder that he had been nicknamed "deporter in chief."

Fusion’s Jorge Ramos reminded him of those bad old days when he was slammed for deporting two million people -- a higher clip than his predecessors.

At issue for Ramos and certainly many others was whether Obama always had the authority to halt those deportations and chose not to do so.

The key exchange begins at about the 1:30 mark on the video below, and it's worth watching to see the body language and Obama's clear frustration with Ramos's dogged questioning.


Ramos: But if you, as you're saying, you always had the legal authority to stop deportations, then why did you deport two million people? For six years you did it. You destroyed many families. They called you the "deporter-in-chief."
Obama: Listen ... Jorge .. we're not ... listen Jorge ... you called me "deporter-in-chief."
Ramos: It was Janet Murgia of La Raza. ... You could have stopped deportations. That's the whole idea.
Obama: That is not true.

Obama then describes his plan as a "necessarily a temporary measure designed to help as many people as we can right now, but we still have a fight that we're going to have to take in the future."

Ramos is getting at very real tensions that Obama dealt with among Latino activists pushing for immigration reform. The discontent simmered over in White House meetings this spring and peaked when Obama broke a string of promises over immigration reform -- most notably that he would do his executive action before the 2014 election.

The question is whether Obama will still be fighting the "deporter-in-chief" label in the future. Or has Obama cemented his legacy, as one Latino activist described him, as "the Great Emancipator," with his actions and paved the way for a huge voting bloc to become loyal Democrats.