US President Barack Obama made no bones about his chances of reelection in an interview with America’slargest Hispanic radio service, saying: “I’ve got another five years coming up.”
Quizzed by Univision’s Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo about his failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform, Obama replied: “Well, first of all, Piolin, my presidency is not over.
“I’ve got another five years coming up. We’re going to get this done,” he continued, according to a transcript of the interview, which was conducted on Tuesday and broadcast on Univision Radio on Wednesday.
The remarks, coming as Republican hopefuls become increasingly drawn into a long and bitter nomination battle, and as the US economy shows signs of sputtering back into life, marked a big turnaround from October when Obama said he would “absolutely” be the underdog in the November 2012 election.
With Hispanic voters making up vital constituencies in battleground states such as Arizona, Colorado and Florida, Obama has insisted that it is Republicans in Congress who are preventing him from a major push behind a comprehensive immigration policy overhaul.
“Immigration reform is something that we still have to get done and as I’ve told you since before I was elected president, the only way we’re going to get this done fully is by getting Congress to do its job,” Obama was quoted as saying.
“Unfortunately, the Republican side, which used to at least give lip service to immigration reform, now they’ve gone completely to a different place, and have shown themselves unwilling to talk at all about any sensible solutions to this issue, and we’re going to have to just keep up the pressure until they act.”
Obama’s reelection campaign has previously blasted his most likely Republican opponent, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, over his tough talk against the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country.
Romney had vowed to veto a law that would offer permanent residency for skilled but undocumented migrants who graduated from US schools or took part in military service.
Romney has sided with party hardliners to advocate a plan that would see undocumented immigrants removed from US soil even if it means breaking up families.
Obama’s approval rating hit the crucial 50 percent level in two new surveys last week.
Among his possible Republican challengers in November, Romney and former senator Rick Santorum come closest to beating him in the latest opinion polls, but still trail the president by an average six to seven percentage points.