One of the powers of the presidency is the ability to control the news cycle and pull policy rabbits out of the hat in time to influence elections. Candidates opposing incumbents always fear an October surprise by the White House that they would have little time to counter.
Now President Obama, after sustaining one of his worst months of the campaign, has come up with a June surprise.
The president basically went around Congress and announced that the United States will not be deporting the children of illegal immigrants up to the age of 30. This was the substance of the Dream Act that Obama tried to get through Congress, but he claims that the deadlock in Congress prevented it from being passed, and therefore he would have to effectively pass it via the back door of selective enforcement.
The announcement is reminiscent of Obama's support for same-sex "marriage". Faced with disaffection among swing voters and independents, Obama needs the groups that were most supportive of his candidacy in 2008 to return to the 2012 campaign with the same vigor and enthusiasm that they demonstrated 4 years ago.
The Hispanic vote was a crucial component in the 2008 victory and has become even more crucial, given demographic gains among Hispanics, as well as their prominence in several important battleground states.
The more it looks that Romney could flip Midwestern states in the 2012 elections, the more it becomes ever more crucial for Obama to win in states such as Colorado, Nevada and Arizona, where the Hispanic vote can make a difference - as it did in the midterm elections in Colorado and Nevada.
Romney was beginning to pry away some of the Hispanic support because of the economic situation, the Obama administration's position on contraception that has stirred up many Catholics - and finally the possibility that Romney's running mate may be Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
As voters hostile to legalizing illegal immigrants were viewed as a lost cause by the Obama campaign, the presidential immigration decision carried little downside and a large degree of potential upside.
Romney and Rubio, who do not want to concede the Hispanic vote to Barack Obama, criticized the plan as a stopgap and detrimental to a real solution. Other Republicans denounced the president's announcement as a blatant political ploy, while others commented that the executive does not have the privilege of selectively enforcing the laws that it likes, while disregarding the laws with which it disagrees.