POLITICS: PennAve

White House's Valerie Jarrett dines with Rupert Murdoch to plot immigration strategy

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Politics,White House,Immigration,Barack Obama,PennAve,Susan Crabtree,Law,Rupert Murdoch,Valerie Jarrett

President Obama's longtime senior adviser Valerie Jarrett confessed to breaking bread this week with conservative media titan Rupert Murdoch, a new White House frenemy of sorts on immigration reform.

The two dined at the posh Blue Duck Tavern on Tuesday night in Washington's Foggy Bottom, and Jarrett described the evening as “very enjoyable.”

“Good policy sometimes makes strange bedfellows,” she told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor Friday, adding that she was impressed by Murdoch's passion for passing comprehensive immigration reform.

“He is an immigrant himself and he understands from a business perspective how important immigration reform would be to our economy,” she said. “... Sometimes decisions are tough but it's time for Congress to step up and act now — and that's something he said privately to me, and I was heartened to see him express it publicly.”

The next morning, Wall Street Journal readers awoke to an editorial by Murdoch, the paper's owner, calling on Congress to take action and pass comprehensive immigration reform and stressing its benefits to the business community and the economy.

Jarrett followed her private dinner with Murdoch with a breakfast the next day with the Business Roundtable, whose members were in town to press the case for immigration reform on Capitol Hill.

She said Republicans shouldn't be spooked by former Majority Leader Eric Cantor's stunning primary defeat, which Washington quickly attributed to his support for a middle-ground approach to some aspects of immigration reform.

“Having heard from someone like a Rupert Murdoch [on the issue],” Republicans shouldn't feel scared of it, she said.

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