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ABC’s Raddatz Peddles Obama Talking Points On Border Crisis During Interview With Rick Perry

ABC's Martha Raddatz did her best to spin away the crisis at the border by pushing White House talking points during an interview with Governor Rick Perry (R-TX).

Raddatz filled in for George Stephanopoulos as moderator of This Week on Sunday, July 6, and insisted that the crisis was a result of a 2008 law signed by President Bush, with no consideration given to President Obama’s role in the surge of illegal border crossings. 

The ABC reporter began by insisting the crisis at the border “is about a law. You heard in Jim Avila's piece, they have to let these people into the country when they're from noncontiguous nations, when they're from Central America or South America. Should that law be changed?” 

For his part, the Texas governor did not accept Raddatz’s spin and argued that “the rule of law is that the constitution requires the United States to secure the border, and we're not doing that.” 

Raddatz wouldn’t let up with her use of White House talking points and again argued that “the 2008 law that was signed into law by George Bush, isn't this a backlog in the courts? Doesn't that have to be addressed first?”

Nowhere in her line of questioning did the issue of President Obama’s issuance of an executive order, DACA, come up. Raddatz seemed completely unaware that an Obama administration policy allowing children in this country illegally to defer their deportation might have contributed to the flood of illegal immigration over the past year.  

Instead, Raddatz insisted that President Obama is “telling people not to come. He's telling them in ads not to come into the United States, not to leave their homes.” For his part, Perry shot back:

About five years too late would be my response to that. The president has sent powerful messages time after time... By his policies, by nuances that it is okay to come to the United States and you can come across and you'll be accepted in open arms. That is the real issue here. 

During the entire interview, Raddatz acted more like a White House spokesman than a journalist offering skepticism of the Obama Administration’s failure to secure the border. The interview concluded with the ABC reporter wondering “governor do you really believe there's some sort of conspiracy to get people into the United States by the federal government, by the Obama administration?”

Perry ended by resoundingly criticizing the Obama Administration’s immigration policy, something Raddatz had no interest in doing: 

I have to believe that when you do not respond in any way, that you are either inept, or you have some a ulterior motive of which you are functioning from. So the issue is, this president understands now that we have a huge problem on our southern border. We have to deal with it, and I don't think you're going to be able to address it until you put the resources there, and that's boots on the ground.

See relevant transcript below. 

ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos 

July 6, 2014

MARTHA RADDATZ: Now we turn to Texas Governor Rick Perry, who also testified at that special hearing this week. You heard what the bishop said. He talks about compassion. You're a religious man. What do you do about this?

RICK PERRY: Well, for over two years we've drawn the attention of this issue to this administration. As a matter of fact, in may of 2012 we sent a letter, laid out what was happening with the unaccompanied minors that were showing up at the border, and we told them, if you do not address this, here is what's going to happen.

And we’re seeing that become reality today. This is a failure of diplomacy. It is a failure of leadership from the administration in Washington, D.C., and it was--messages have been sent now for multiple years. In 2010, I asked for the president to put a thousand National Guard troops in place along the border to secure the border so that we could train up 3,000 border patrol agents to augment and to permanently secure that border.

RADDATZ: You just heard the-- 

PERRY: That has been the real issue. 

RADDATZ: You have heard the commissioner of the Customs and Border Patrol say he is confident they have enough resources on the border. They’ve added people.

PERRY: He is absolutely and totally wrong. For one thing, there is a border patrol agent -- I should say 15 border patrol agents per mile from El Paso to California. In Texas that number is seven border patrol agents totally per mile. So the idea that there's equity and there's enough border patrol agents is totally and absolutely incorrect. 

RADDATZ: But, governor, this is about a law. This isn't necessarily about border patrol. This is about a law. You heard in Jim Avila's piece, they have to let these people into the country when they're from noncontiguous nations, when they're from Central America or South America. Should that law be changed? 

PERRY: The rule of law is that the constitution requires the United States to secure the border, and we're not doing that. We haven't done it for years and we’re paying a huge price. When you have catch and release policies that send a message to people in Central America--

RADDATZ: But, governor, please, go back to the law. The 2008 law that was signed into law by George Bush, isn't this a backlog in the courts? Doesn't that have to be addressed first? 

PERRY: What has to be addressed is the security of the border. You know that. I know that. The President of the United States knows that. I don't believe he particularly cares whether or not the border of the United States is secure. And that’s the reason there’s been this lack of effort, this lack of focus, this lack of resources. 

RADDATZ: He's telling people not to come. He's telling them in ads not to come into the United States, not to leave their homes. 

PERRY: About five years too late would be my response to that. The president has sent powerful messages time after time--

RADDATZ: Governor-- 

PERRY: By his policies, by nuances that it is okay to come to the United States and you can come across and you'll be accepted in open arms. That is the real issue here. 

RADDATZ: Governor I want to go back to an interview you did on Fox News. You recently made some pretty serious allegations against the federal government. Let's listen to what you said to Fox News. 

PERRY: The federal government is just absolutely failing. You either have an incredibly inept administration, or they're in on this somehow or another. I mean I hate to be conspiratorial, but I mean how do you move that many people from Central America across Mexico and then into the United States without there being a fairly coordinated effort? 

RADDATZ: Governor do you really believe there's some sort of conspiracy to get people into the United States by the federal government, by the Obama administration? 

PERRY: When I have -- when I have written a letter that is dated May of 2012, and I have yet to have a response from this administration, I will tell you they either are inept or don't care, and that is my position. We have been bringing to the attention of President Obama and his administration since 2010, he received a letter from me on the tarmac. He sends -- I have to believe that when you do not respond in any way, that you are either inept, or you have some a ulterior motive of which you are functioning from.

So the issue is, this president understands now that we have a huge problem on our southern border. We have to deal with it, and I don't think you're going to be able to address it until you put the resources there, and that's boots on the ground. We're asking for the FAA to allow for drones to be used. Unless we secure our southern border, this is going to continue to be a massive amount of individuals that are coming to the United States and, frankly, we don't have a place to house them as it is and if we have a major event, a hurricane that comes in to the Gulf Coast, I don't have a place to be housing people who are displaced--

RADDATZ: Okay, governor, I'm going to have to stop you there. 

PERRY: Because his administration is housing them. 

— Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Jeffrey Meyer on Twitter.