If there’s one thing that is sure to send Republicans into an apoplectic, screaming rage, it’s the prospect of the most successful President in modern memory deliberately tweaking them where it hurts the most–namely, in their phony pretensions of patriotism:

“This whole anti-immigrant sentiment that’s out there in our politics right now is contrary to who we are. Because unless you are a Native American, your family came from someplace else,” Mr. Obama said. “Don’t pretend that somehow 100 years ago the immigration process was all smooth and strict. That’s not how it worked.” The grandparents and great-grandparents of politicians taking a hard line on immigration, he said, were also “somehow considered unworthy or uneducated or unwashed.”“When I hear folks talking as if somehow these kids are different from my kids or less worthy in the eyes of God, that somehow they are less worthy of our respect and consideration and care, I think that’s un-American,” Mr. Obama said.

In one sentence the President managed to tie immigration, patriotism and religious faith together and frame it as an indictment of the Republican platform.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest made no secret that Mr. Obama flew to Iowa to try to influence the 2016 discussions.

Rather than “dropping in” for a ceremonial visit, the President held a Town Hall meeting, fielding questions about education, economic policy, and most of all, immigration, where he continued to torment the Republican candidates into defending the consequences of their policies:

Mr. Obama got animated when asked about the children of illegal immigrants having education benefits, and he immediately tied it to the debate on the 2016 campaign trail.He said it makes “absolutely no sense” for politicians to block young people who “are American kids by every other criteria except for a piece of paper” from being “full-fledged parts of this community and this country.”