Jorge Ramos, Disappointed in Obama, Lines Up Sunday Interview

By Jerry Kammer, September 18, 2009

As President Obama makes the rounds of this Sunday's talks shows, he will record an interview for the Univision program "Al Punto," with Jorge Ramos. There will likely be an interesting discussion of the president's plans to reform both health care and immigration policy.

In his latest, widely-distributed newspaper column, headlined "End of the Honeymoon,'' the influential anchorman finds it "discouraging" that the president is not including illegal immigrants in his health care plans. Referring to Obama's health care speech last week to Congress, he criticizes the president for language he finds offensive.

Writes Ramos: "It surprised me greatly that in his speech, Obama used the words 'illegal immigrants' to refer to the undocumented. That is the language that many enemies of immigrants have previously used. During his presidential campaign Obama took great care to call them 'undocumented,' not 'illegal.'

Ramos continues: "Words count. To call them 'illegals' is synonymous, for many, with calling them 'criminals.' And they are not. They're simply workers who make the United States a better place as they do the jobs that are the most difficult and the worst paid." He also notes that Obama last year got 67 percent of the Hispanic vote.

The observation about the president's diction in campaign speeches is fair enough. But if Ramos wants to see frequent use of the term he finds offensive he could simply search the archives of the leading Mexican newspaper, which publishes his column.

It's a good bet that for Sunday's interview, Ramos will revisit the interview he taped in May of last year and has repeated numerous times since then with then-candidate Obama. As they spoke of immigration, Obama pledged that during his first year as president a reform bill would be drafted "that I strongly support and that we will move forward as soon as we can." The White House is working with Congress and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to meet that self-imposed deadline of next January 21.

But while Ramos accurately cites Obama's pledge in his column, he is strangely distorting it as he promotes his newest book, "Tierra de Todos,"---Land of Everyone.

One wonders if the president--or his press office--will ever call the anchorman out for the serial distortion, evident most recently in his interview last week with the Chicago bilingual newspaper, Extra.

According to a transcript of the interview, Ramos said that in last year's interview Obama "made a comment that during his first year in office, he was going to sign a bill that would legalize undocumented immigrants."

That is flatly false. But Ramos declared his determination to hold the president to account. He told the newspaper: "That is exactly what I'm trying to do right now, push as hard as I can, to make sure that he keeps his promise."

Somebody should push Mr. Ramos to talk straight about what the president said.