KISSIMMEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 08: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally at the Kissimmee Civic Center September 8, 2012 in Kissimmee, Florida. Working with the momentum from this week's Democratic National Convention, Obama is on a two-day campaign swing from one side of Florida to the other on the politically important I-4 corridor. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)2012 Getty Images
President Barack Obama said Thursday in an exclusive interview with Agencia Efe, Spain's international news agency, that he had not promised to complete his entire 2008 campaign agenda, including immigration reform, during his first term but rather had said that he would begin working on it.
When asked if he regretted not having been able to deliver on immigration reform, the president responded: "No, because what a president does, or what a candidate for president does is you lay out an agenda of where you want to take your country, a vision for how we would strengthen the country and, in my case, my vision has always been how do we create a strong middle class, ladders of opportunity into the middle class."
"And the agenda that I put forward," he said, "is one that is designed to make sure that anybody who works hard in this country can make it."
Success can be achieved by people in the United States "regardless of race, religion, background," and they can "have access to a good education, ... they can get the skills they need, ... they can find a job that pays the bills, they can own a home, send their kids to college," he said.
During the interview, which the president granted after holding a campaign rally in Golden, Colorado, he also said that "if you look at the promises that I made back in 2008, we have achieved many of them."
"(We) ended the war in Iraq, saved an auto industry on the brink of extinction, passed comprehensive health care reform which will provide millions ... more people (with) access to health insurance, including nine million Latinos who work so hard and have difficulty getting health insurance on the job, reforming our student loans program so that millions ... more young people are able to get the support that they need."
He acknowledged that "there are some things, like comprehensive immigration reform, that we have not got done yet. But in 2008 I didn't promise that I would have everything completed by the end of the first term. I said that we would begin work on all these things."
The president also expressed confidence that the agenda that he has presented recently, with the aim of being reelected in November, includes objectives "that we can accomplish."
In 2008 then Senator Obama said he would make immigration reform a "top priority" of his first term as President promising to do it his first year of his first term.
"We can't wait 20 years from now to do it, we can't 10 years from now to do it, we need to do it by the end of my first term as president of the United States of America," Obama said in 2008.
Obama made a similar promise to try for immigration reform in the first year of his second term in an interview with Univision. Obama blamed Republicans for the lack of progress on reform legislation in his first term and pledged he would “try” to bring up the issue in the first year of a second term.
Among those realizable goals, Mr. Obama said, are: "bringing ... manufacturing jobs back home, making college more affordable, continu(ing) to reform our schools, rehiring teachers so that we don't have overcrowded classrooms, continuing to develop clean energy that reduces our dependence on foreign oil, ending the war in Afghanistan, these are all things that we can accomplish."
"It's in stark contrast to the agenda that's being presented by the other side," the president said, alluding to the campaign platform of his Republican rival, Mitt Romney.