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Obama Says Cantor Defeat Not Death-Knell for Immigration

President Barack Obama said that it’s wrong to conclude that the defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor will kill any chance of overhauling the nation’s immigration laws this year.

“I fundamentally reject that and I will tell the speaker of the House that he needs to reject it,” Obama told about two dozen people, including Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, at a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee tonight at a private home in Weston, Massachusetts.

The seven-term Virginia Republican was defeated yesterday’s in a primary by college professor Dave Brat, who accused Cantor of not being firm enough in opposing legislation that would give a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

Many lawmakers and political analysts said Cantor’s loss will kill any chance that Republicans, who have a majority in the House, will act on immigration legislation.

Obama said the intra-party opposition confronting Republican leaders isn’t a result of support for rewriting immigration laws. Rather, he said, they have failed to take a stand on an issue that has broad support among voters.

“My argument about yesterday’s election is not that there was too little politics -- there was too little conviction about what was right,” he said.

Obama said that while he wants to keep the Senate in Democratic hands, he also wants “a loyal and rational opposition” in Washington. “Unfortunately, that’s not what we’re seeing,” he said.

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