Transcript: The President's Interview with Print Media Columnists
If they came in here, if Rove and them came in here and said, okay, here's what the focus groups are saying, change, I'm not changing. Now, maybe you'll say, oh, God, if only Bush had changed. But my job is to explain as clearly as I can to the American people exactly what's happening.
And the other thing is, is that I've always been taught that the economy matters during an election. I've had some experiences with that and some not-so-good experiences with that. (Laughter. )And I believe that when it gets down to it, money in people's pockets are going to matter. I really do. Immigration is an issue. I don't hear it being discussed much out there. Of course, generally, I'm doing all the discussing. Anyway, you're so your point is basically, should I not be emphasizing immigration more than
Q: Well, it seems to be there are significant portions of the Republican base that disagrees with you on this. I was in Tennessee, and I asked Bob Corker about this. He said, well, I disagree with him on immigration. He volunteered that.
THE PRESIDENT: Really? What is my position on immigration?
Q: Well, they feel that you lean closer to the amnesty side, and they're closer to
THE PRESIDENT: No, no, what but they're wrong. I'm not for amnesty. I won't lean toward amnesty. I'm against amnesty. There's no lean there, it is no. I am for a guest worker program so that we can better enforce the border. But anyway, just so you know my position.
Q: Mr. President, one more thing on Iraq
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead.
Q: What do you think of the proposal of Alaska-style funding direct payments per individual? It will get you over this problem about the Sunnis getting a fair
THE PRESIDENT: Michael, here's what I think. I think that's a very intriguing idea. I think there are two elements around which the country can unite: the army and the oil. And I actually brought up this idea when I was with the Maliki government as an idea for them to consider. I said, you ought to look at a trust like they have done in Alaska as an idea on how to unite their country. And Shahristani, that's the minister for energy, I think, Shahristani
Q: I think the answer is yes.
THE PRESIDENT: I actually brought it up with him as an idea not to say this is Michael, a lot of this the government has to come up with these have to be Iraqi ideas in order for this to be a successful experience. Now, we can plant them. I'm not saying they have to be originated, but they have to say, wow, here's an idea, let's do this; as opposed to saying, Americanizing the solution.
But we're working on the oil issue through Zal to convince them that this is an important step forward. Oil should be a unifying element for the country. I can't tell you exactly the state of play, but I do believe they recognize it as such, and it will put a lot of suspicion and division behind them if they can get it done the right way. And so we agree with you that this is a cause for you. I also believe the army will be, too.