A former top adviser to President Obama said on Monday that the White House was likely kicking itself because of the leak of its draft immigration bill that was made public late Saturday. "The mistake here was to disseminate it so widely within the administration that it got leaked," David Axelrod said on MSNBC. "And I'm sure if they could they'd take that back." (Watch video of the interview after the jump.)
Axelrod’s statement comes as the White House suddenly found itself in a scramble Sunday to insist over and over again that the Obama administration didn’t purposefully leak the bill as a way to pressure the so-callled Gang of Eight senators who are supposed to be negotiating a bipartisan immigration reform. "This was not the administration floating anything," a White House official tells the Los Angeles Times.
Republicans reacted furiously to the leak, with Sen. Marco Rubio insisting that Obama’s proposal would be “dead on arrival” if presented to Congress. The strong reaction comes as a bit of a surprise to Washington watchers considering that “on the policy side, nobody’s even sure what Rubio and the White House are arguing over exactly,” as Talking Point Memo’s Benjy Sarlin writes.
Sure, the White House draft may be a bit more liberal than Rubio would like, particularly because the Florida senator insists a pathway to citizenship should only be open once several border security measures have been implemented. But the broad outlines of what each side wants are pretty much the same. Politically, it makes sense for Rubio to try to highlight his differences with the White House. But his strong indignation at the plan, “raises an important question,” writes Jamelle Bouie in the Washington Post. “Is Rubio interested in passing immigration reform, or does he want credit for being the kind of GOP senator who is interested in immigration reform.”