While piously denying that it intentionally leaked a draft immigration bill, the White House understands the role it plays in Rubio’s faux outrage at the leak:
Administration officials said they were willing to take hits from the Florida lawmaker if doing so gave him the cover to work with Senate Democrats to reach a deal.
“As long as Sen. Rubio and the rest of the gang are making real progress on immigration reform, we are happy to be on the sidelines and even serve as a punching bag every once in a while,” Dan Pfeiffer, Obama’s senior adviser, said.
Actually admitting that you’re playing a game of good-cop/bad-cop misses the point, kind of like Bush I’s “Message: I Care” gaffe. To succeed in helping Rubio dupe Republicans into thinking a vote for the Schumer/Rubio amnesty is a repudiation of the president’s (essentially identical) amnesty plan, the White House needs a little more message discipline.