It really hasn’t been that long since President Obama’s last visit to Del Sol High School in Las Vegas. It was only 661 days ago that he launched the immigration push he hoped would give him the first big legislative victory of his second term. But to really measure how much political time has passed all you had to do was watch the president’s return to the home of the Dragons on Friday and hear his adjusted assessment of the current immigration debate.
Though he ended his remarks with a rousing and emotional appeal that brought his audience to their feet, the Obama on display for most of the speech was a more somber and more reflective version of the president seen here on Jan. 29, 2013. That president enjoyed a 55 percent approval rating. That president was only eight days removed from a well-received Inaugural Address in which he singled out immigration, promising to “find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity.” And that president saw a bipartisan opening in Washington where, he said, “the differences are dwindling, where a broad consensus is emerging and where a call for action can now be heard coming from all across America.”
That president drew chants of “Sí, se puede”—”Yes, we can!”—when he declared, “I’m here today because the time has come for commonsense, comprehensive immigration reform. The time is now. Now is the time. Now is the time. Now is the time.”