It doesn’t take a political pundit to see that.

Michael Barone did, however, and pointed stated the obvious here.

“[T]he most important lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t change Washington from the inside,” Barack Obama said in an interview Thursday on the Spanish-language Univision network. “You can only change it from the outside.

”A better way to put it is that Barack Obama has proved he can’t change Washington from the inside.

One case in point is the comprehensive immigration legislation Obama promised to steer to passage in his first term. The Univision interviewers, who asked tougher questions than the president has been getting from David Letterman or various rappers, zeroed in on this issue.

With a 60-vote supermajority in the Senate and a solid Democratic majority in the House in 2009 and 2010, Obama could have pushed for an immigration bill.

All true and teed up for any press willing to take a swing. But it took Univision. Good for them.

Obama’s inability to change Washington from the inside is also on display in Bob Woodward’s latest best-seller, “The Price of Politics.”

He tells how in a meeting of congressional leaders, Pelosi muted a speakerphone as Obama droned on lecturing members on the national interest, so the legislators could get some work done.

He shows how Obama blew up the summer 2011 grand bargain negotiations with Speaker John Boehner by suddenly raising his demands…

All of which prompts the question: Would the economy be doing better today if the grand bargain had been successful, and if we were not headed toward the fiscal cliff resulting from the sequestration process that congressional leaders improvised after Obama spiked the negotiations?

We can’t know the answer for sure. But it’s certainly possible. Instead, the economy is in such disarray that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has embarked on a third round of quantitative easing.

Here’s a central point:

Obama has spent about half of his career in public office running for other office. A couple of years after his election to the state Senate, he ran for Congress. He lost and a couple of years later ran for the U.S. Senate.

Two years after taking office, he started running for president. And he’s spent a lot of time these last two years — all those fundraisers! — running again.

And get this:

In the meantime, he has skipped more than half of his daily intelligence briefings, including those several days before the attacks on our embassies and consulates that started on 9/11/12.

Afterward, White House press secretary Jay Carney, Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice and Obama himself (on “David Letterman”) characterized the attacks as spontaneous responses to a video criticizing Islam.

That story line was punctured when the director of the National Counterterrorism Center stated what seemed to be obvious, that Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed “in the course of a terrorist attack.” The video was a pretext.

The video alibi was obviously politically motivated. One of the premises of the Obama campaign was that his election would make Muslims love America.

This is all outrageous.

Univision interviewers’ tough questions about promises made in the 2008 presidential campaign forced Obama to admit, clumsily, that he didn’t promise he would exactly be able to fulfill them.

Q Mr. President, I want to ask you something that is known as the “Obama promise,” and you knew that I was going to ask you about that. On May 28th, 2008, we had a conversation in Denver, Colorado, and you told me the following — and I’m going to quote you: “But I can guarantee that we will have, in the first year, an immigration bill that I strongly support.”

I want to emphasize “the first year.” At the beginning of your governing, you had control of both chambers of Congress, and yet you did not introduce immigration reform. And before I continue, I want for you to acknowledge that you did not keep your promise….

[A.]…And as you know, Jorge, even though we controlled the House of Representatives, even though we had a majority in the Senate, the way the Senate operates was if you couldn’t get 60 votes you couldn’t get something moving. So we initiated the meetings, had a series of meetings. And what we could not get was a single Republican, including the 20 who had previously voted for comprehensive immigration reform, to step up and say, we will work with you to make this happen.

Q It was a promise, Mr. President. And I don’t want to — because this is very important, I don’t want to get you off the explanation. You promised that. And a promise is a promise. And with all due respect, you didn’t keep that promise.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, here is what I would say, Jorge, is that — and we’ve had this conversation before. There’s the thinking that the President is somebody who is all powerful and can get everything done. In our branch of — in our system of government, I am the head of the executive branch. I’m not the head of the legislature; I’m not the head of the judiciary. We have to have cooperation from all these sources in order to get something done. And so I am happy to take responsibility for the fact that we didn’t get it done, but I did not make a promise that I would get everything done, 100 percent, when I was elected as President.

Q Mr. President, I want to ask you something that is known as the “Obama promise,” and you knew that I was going to ask you about that. On May 28th, 2008, we had a conversation in Denver, Colorado, and you told me the following — and I’m going to quote you: “But I can guarantee that we will have, in the first year, an immigration bill that I strongly support.”

I want to emphasize “the first year.” At the beginning of your governing, you had control of both chambers of Congress, and yet you did not introduce immigration reform. And before I continue, I want for you to acknowledge that you did not keep your promise….

And as you know, Jorge, even though we controlled the House of Representatives, even though we had a majority in the Senate, the way the Senate operates was if you couldn’t get 60 votes you couldn’t get something moving. So we initiated the meetings, had a series of meetings. And what we could not get was a single Republican, including the 20 who had previously voted for comprehensive immigration reform, to step up and say, we will work with you to make this happen.

Q It was a promise, Mr. President. And I don’t want to — because this is very important, I don’t want to get you off the explanation. You promised that. And a promise is a promise. And with all due respect, you didn’t keep that promise.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, here is what I would say, Jorge, is that — and we’ve had this conversation before. There’s the thinking that the President is somebody who is all powerful and can get everything done. In our branch of — in our system of government, I am the head of the executive branch. I’m not the head of the legislature; I’m not the head of the judiciary. We have to have cooperation from all these sources in order to get something done. And so I am happy to take responsibility for the fact that we didn’t get it done, but I did not make a promise that I would get everything done, 100 percent, when I was elected as President.

After that campaign and its famous speeches, notably his acceptance of his party’s nomination and victory speech after the election, that’s not the impression he left the country.

But after all, Barone concludes, we are left with a country in disarray…

an economy that is foundering, a world where America is on the defensive and under attack. A president who can’t change Washington and whose election did not magically change the world.

As Univision reminded him.

Q Something different, something personal. I don’t know what you’re reading before going to sleep right now. I don’t know if you have already read the book “No Easy Day,” in which a Navy SEAL tells the story of how Osama bin Laden was killed. According to many, his death was your biggest achievement. What is your biggest failure?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, Jorge, as you remind me, my biggest failure so far is we haven’t gotten comprehensive immigration reform done…So we’re going to be continuing to work on that…

Obviously the fact that we haven’t been able to change the tone in Washington is disappointing. We know now that as soon as I came into office you already had meetings among some of our Republican colleagues saying, how do we figure out how to beat the President. And I think that I’ve learned some lessons over the last four years, and the most important lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside. That’s how I got elected, and that’s how the big accomplishments like health care got done, was because we mobilized the American people to speak out…

So something that I’d really like to concentrate on in my second term is being in a much more constant conversation with the American people so that they can put pressure on Congress to help move some of these issues forward…

Q Yes, as you said, that’s your biggest failure and Jorge asked you do you consider that you broke your promise. So I think the answer is, yes, with many excuses, but you actually broke your promise.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, what I will say this — what I’ll say is that — that I haven’t gotten everything done that I wanted to get done. And that’s why I’m running for a second term…

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....