Hours before a scheduled scolding by House Republican Leader John Boehner in Ohio, President Barack Obama said Monday that he should have used the word ‘opponents’ instead of ‘enemies’" in a Univision radio interview.
“Now the Republicans are saying that I'm calling them enemies,” Obama said during a get-out-the-vote to The Michael Baisden Show. “What I'm saying is you’re an opponent of this particular provision, comprehensive immigration reform, which is something very different.”
In the earlier interview, Obama said: "If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, 'We're gonna punish our enemies, and we're gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us' — if they don't see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election — then I think it's going to be harder. And that's why I think it's so important that people focus on voting on November 2nd."
In remarks prepared for delivery at an election-eve rally in Cincinnati, Boehner seized on the “enemies” passage: “Ladies and gentlemen, we have a president in the White House who referred to Americans who disagree with him as 'our enemies.' … Mr. President, there's a word for people who have the audacity to speak up in defense of freedom, the Constitution, and the values of limited government that made our country great. We don't call them 'enemies.' We call them 'patriots.'"
In Monday’s radio interview with Michael Baisden, Obama said: “I had a conversation with a Hispanic radio outlet, Univision, and during the course of that conversation, one of the things that I had to say to the Latino community, which is frustrated that we haven't seen progress on immigration reform, was that they can't sit out of this election. There were arguments being made that because Democrats hadn’t gotten this done, that Latinos should vote against Democrats or just sit out the election.
“And I said, well, you can't punish your friends when — the folks who’ve been supporting it. Now, I did also say if you're going to punish somebody, punish your enemies, and I probably should have used the word ‘opponents’ instead of ‘enemies.’ Now the Republicans are saying that I'm calling them enemies. What I'm saying is you’re an opponent of this particular provision, comprehensive immigration reform, which is something very different. (Continues here)