The administration of President Barack Obama, recognizing a political and public relations disaster, is backing away from a hastily-developed and prematurely leaked immigration plan that is drawing fire from both Republicans and Democrats.
After USA Today reported on the plan that was under development without involvement of either side of Capitol Hill, the administration is now claiming the plan, still in early stages, was a “backup plan” and now is saying the White House “focus remains on supporting the Congressional process.”
White House official privately admit the plan was a “screw up” and “premature” has put the president at odds with a Congress that is already working on an immigration plans that is producing rare, bi-partisan results.
“The President has his own ideas and his arrogance is showing,” says one frustrated White House official. “His is chafing over criticism of his lack of action and pushed at the wrong time.”
Republican criticism of the plan has been swift and brutal. Rep. Paul Ryan said Obama is seeking “a partisan advantage and not a bipartisan solution.” Sen. Marco Rubio called the Obama plan “half baked and seriously flawed” and “dead on arrival.”
Sen. John McCain claims Congress is “making progress on a bi-partisan basis.”
White House chief of staff Denis McDonough tried to smooth over the rough spots in an appearance over the weekend on “Meet the Pess,” calling the plan a “backup” that will provide a solution if Congress stalls on the bill.
“We are doing exactly what we saidwe would do, which is we’ll be prepared in the evnet that the bipartisan talks going on the Hill — which by the way we’re very aggressively supporting — if those do not work out, then we’ll have an option that we’ll be ready to put out there.”
Obama’s option provides an eight-year path to citizenship for current illegal immigrants but White House sources tell Capitol Hill Blue that McDonough is “livid” that the plan is leaked and is “searching high and low” for the source of the leak.
Former Obama chief of staff David Axelrod said the White House made a mistake to “disseminate the draft of the plan so widely in the administration that it go leaked.”
Alexrod, however, admits that Obama may have wanted the plan leaked to test public reaction.
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