Many Democrats hailed Obama's move. "It's the right thing to do for the country, and the right thing to do politically," said veteran strategist Matt Bennett." If Republicans directly challenge the decision, he said, it puts them "in the position of saying we should be attacking, legally, innocent children who did nothing wrong."
Republican consultant Mike McKenna said Obama's advisers "have obviously made a decision that they are going to win this election by energizing the base. Between this decision and the gay marriage emphasis, they have doubled down on their core and moved away from where most registered voters are."
McKenna said the strategy might inspire activists on both the left and right to turn out to vote.
But Democratic campaign veteran Doug Thornell sees more gains than risks in Obama's immigration decision.
"The Republican base is pretty inspired to beat Obama already," Thornell said. For persuadable voters, he said, "this is in keeping with a president who does big and bold things." Romney, he said, is "pretty vanilla."
If the economy were humming, Obama might not need to do big and bold things. But a national unemployment rate of 8.2 percent forces him to take some chances.
That's what he did Friday and briefly stole attention from the start of Romney's five-day bus tour, whose theme is clear: jobs, jobs, jobs.
EDITOR'S NOTE — Charles Babington covers national politics for The Associated Press.
An AP News Analysis
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