President Obama weighs in on Bulls vs. Heat
May 13th, 2011
12:33 PM ET
12 years ago

President Obama weighs in on Bulls vs. Heat

(CNN) - President Barack Obama may be on an immigration reform kick, but when it comes to cuisine, he's all about the traditional American fare.

When asked by a Miami reporter to wager a bet in the NBA Eastern Conference finals matchup between the Miami Heat and his hometown Chicago Bulls, Obama replied, "Well you know in Chicago you know we have some outstanding Chicago hot dogs, I don't know what kind of food you've got down in Miami."

WTLV Univision 23 Miami reporter Mario Andrés Moreno then told the president, "If we lose, I'm gonna bring you here to the White House, a box of Cuban Fritas, you've eaten them on Calle Ocho."

"I've had those and they're very good…so you've got a bet," Obama said.

Cuban Fritas are a sweet and spicy Cuban hamburger (a description that really doesn't do them justice).

Obama sat down with Moreno as part of his recent attempt to reinvigorate the debate over immigration reform. He kicked off the week in El Paso, Texas with a speech focused on the contentious issue, and spoke at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast on Thursday.

During the interview with Moreno, Obama reiterated his message that now is the right time to pass an immigration reform bill, and again called on Republicans to get behind the effort.

"The majority of Democrats are supportive of comprehensive immigration reform," Obama said. "The President of the United States wants comprehensive immigration reform. What we haven't had are partners in the Republican party who are willing to work with us on this issue."

Obama's renewed push has been met with defiance from Republicans, who argue that passing an immigration reform bill must be put on hold until border security is improved. But the president has steadfastly defended his administration's efforts to secure the border, and told Moreno that conditions have improved.

"We've now doubled our efforts at the borders. And we've seen much less traffic coming over the borders illegally. Now is the time for us to go ahead and finish the job and my hope is that we'll start seeing more Republican partners get involved in this issue," Obama said.

But critics say Obama's timing has more to do with the upcoming 2012 presidential election, and accuse the president of pandering to the Hispanic community, an increasingly powerful voting bloc.

On Friday Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Illinois, criticized Obama's recent effort, asking the president why "[he isn't] serious about securing the border" during remarks on the House floor.

"You said the other day in Texas that Republicans wouldn't be satisfied unless you built a moat with alligators. You know what Mr. President, a moat might not be a bad idea and I wonder how many of these alligators it would take to secure the border," Walsh said as he held up a rubber alligator.

"What will satisfy most Americans is if you quit campaigning on this issue and finally govern on it," Walsh added.

Obama has brushed off the criticism, insisting that immigration reform is an issue he has consistently pushed for throughout his time in office.

"I don't know how they can call it campaign rhetoric. I've been talking about this since the day after I was elected the first time in 2008," Obama told Moreno.

Filed under: Immigration • President Obama
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    "I don't know how they can call it campaign rhetoric. I've been talking about this since the day after I was elected the first time in 2008," Obama told Moreno.
    Right... we were all born yesterday! The Campaigner-in-Chief thinks the American people are all dummies. But he is right, he does talk a LOT. Unfortunately, most of what he says can't be believed or bares no relationship to reality. Enough of the pandering to hispanics to get their votes. Usually this topic to get hispanic votes is the ultimate in divisive politics.

    May 13, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. Phil in KC

    Well, first, he has always supported his 'home teams', so I would expect him to support the Bulls.
    But – "I don't know what kind of food you've got down in Miami." That sound bite is going to come back to bite him in the butt when he campaigns in FL next year.

    May 13, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  3. Cristina

    I'm a Hispanic & I'm proud what this president is trying 2 accomplish 4 us, the Hispanic community. I see nothing fr Republicans.. don't trust them 2 work 4 us. & I know that a vast majority of hispanics will b voting Obama 1212!!

    May 13, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  4. ConservaFASCISTS

    Two words Mr. President: El Fuego

    People such as "Democrat Class Warfare – Destroying the economy, destroying the country" constantly attack you because they know they have no chance in hell of beating you. Republicans can care less about hispanics. They just want their vote, then they'll throw them under the bus like they did Michael Steele.

    May 13, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  5. Chuck in CSG

    Well, I guess now we know that the Bulls don't stand a chance.

    May 13, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  6. obama victim

    Barry was 0-4 in his Final Four picks...he is a loser.....but we knew that.

    May 13, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  7. Dean

    Finally...something he knows about!

    May 13, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. kayla

    when you accuse someone of doing something, is because you know deep down you would do the same thing. it's all about politics. how about wanting rubio to run for president so he can get the hispanics votes? is'nt that pandering to the hispanics? hypocrites.

    May 13, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  9. I hear ya

    BS Walsh, this isnt the 1st time the president would talk about immigration.. remember when he brought it up a year ago, and repubs said secure the boarder 1st? now that the boarder is secured, he is campaigning about it. can one right-winger tell me when it wud be the right time to talk about it? never I assume! if he talks about it now, he's campaigning.. if he talks about it next year, he won't Hispanic votes.. shameful republicans.. Am still waiting for some sensible ideas or plans to solve any problem facing this country. so far? none except privatization of SS ryan's budget

    May 13, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. Howard

    The American people have to take the HEAT for all the BULL Obama has dumped on us !!!

    May 13, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. larry

    After so many times of pointing out to people that talking is all that Obama does it gets old and you know that they are on something and not going to hear what you say anyway. Follow your leader, sheep.

    May 13, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. Edward

    How are republicans going to defend voting to end Medicare while defending tax cuts for people and corporations that don't need them?

    May 13, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  13. larry

    Who writes this crap "immigration reform kick". Some people in this country think immigration reform is needed but I guess the writer thinks it is a kick?

    May 13, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  14. AK

    You are always on here spewing nonsense Democrat Class Warfare – Destroying the economy, destroying the country
    Are you one of those wht trash who sits on his hands all day and collect medcaid & food stamps yet criticizing the government?
    Do you work? Probably not... too much time on your hands.

    May 13, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    You should have bet a hot Italian Beef sandwich with the spicy vegetables (giardinere?) against a bowl of hot and spicy mafungo.

    May 13, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    "Right... we were all born yesterday! "
    Enjoy the rest of your Friday and have a nice weekend. I'll be Bach!

    May 13, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. Barry Marson

    Mr. President. Please please please support the Hispanic community. I am a black male, however, America or better yet, the American government only panders to the Hispanic community whenever they need votes and government only find them relevant when they need them for the ballots. Just like presidential candidates who show up in the front seats of predominantly Black churches ONLY prior to elections. Its time Hispanics demand more of these electorates, and you, and its time you listen to them and work to create a better America for them. After all, after our fore parents slavery tasks ended, America called on the Hispanics to pick up where our people left off. Its time you work for them..

    May 13, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  18. Joan

    Well, it looks like the President is calling the Republican's bluff. They wanted the border more secure so he put more security agents down there, put in more technical surveillance and has cut down the number of people trying to cross by a huge number. Fact check the statistics and you will be surprised. Now he wants to make some humane, needed changes to the immigration system and they are still complaining. John McCain and others sponsored and supported this kind of immigration reform at one time when Bush was in office but now that there is a Democratic President, they have flip-flopped. To criticize him for not doing this sooner is totally ridiculous. Hasn't the man had a few other things on his plate such as a looming depression, the auto industry almost collaping, BP oil spill, two wars, Libya, capturing the world's most hated man, floods, fires, etc. etc. etc. For heaven's sake, the man has handled his first two years in office with remarkable strength and focus. The two parties should come together and solve this problem like adults.

    May 13, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  19. jay1975

    Talked about for the 08 campaign, ignored after securing the Presidency and having a super majority for two years. Now he dusts it off and hope the hispanics are dumb enough to believe him again. What's more insulting is assuming that all hispanics support illegal immigration.

    May 13, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  20. AL in West Palm Beach

    So, asking for fair treatment is divisive politics? Since when? I take it since many on the other side of that moat stopped reading altogether. Many of those people pick your oranges for your orange juice, your green peppers, your onions, your tomatoes, your apples. They have no health insurance, no sick day, no vacation pay and they get paid by how many pounds of those things they can pick. Sometimes, it takes someone like me to get their so-called employer to pay them.

    Before you tell me that they are Americans who can do it. How many Americans have you seen lined-up on some street corner looking for those jobs? Don't you think if they were given an option to become legal residents they'd be able to ask for better wages? Maybe healthcare? Don't you think if they could at least pay for their own health insuance, I'd not have to sholder increased payments because they get care from hospitals and can't pay?

    I believe just Brennan said it best, "From its founding the nation’s basic commitment has been to foster the dignity and well-being of all persons within its borders. The same governmental interests that counsel the provision of welfare, counsel as well its uninterrupted provision to those eligible to receive it; pre-termination evidentiary hearings are indispensable to that end."
    — Goldberg, v. Kelly, 397 U.S. 254, 265, 1970

    Note: All persons within its borders... not all legal persons.

    May 13, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  21. Republican Robber Baron

    Get over it Obama haters. Even with sports...the Neo-Confederates have to spin a non-story into something hateful towards the President. Obama played basketball in school and is still a big fan of the game...big deal. Wow I feel sorry for all the righties that have nothing better to do with their time but push their agenda of hate towards the President for such a trivial topic.

    May 13, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  22. ztank

    Is this pandering to the Latino vote for 2012? Sure. It will all be pandering if hte Republicans refuse to engage...And the Republicans make a bunch of excuses why they wont address this issue, like border security. Riiight. Its BORDER SECURITY that keeps you from even coming to the table to work on a deal on immigration. It has absolutely nothing to do with your attempts to make Obama break his promise to latino voters and "prove" that Obama is only pandering to those voters. The fact that you wont come to the table to even debate the immigration issue has nothing to do with that, right?

    Can you smell the bs?

    May 13, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |