President Obama on Wednesday night dismissed the conclusion that immigration reform is dead this year after Majority Leader Eric Cantor's stunning primary defeat.

“I fundamentally reject that,” he told supporters at a fundraiser in Massachusetts. “And I will tell the Speaker of the House that he needs to reject that.”

Campaign outcomes, he said, shouldn't dictate whether lawmakers are willing to tackle tough problems like immigration.

“If you think that because of politics you want to maintain a status quo that's broken — that because of politics, we're going to forego the economic growth and the deficit reduction, and the border security and the fairness and opportunity that immigration reform represents — you don't belong in Washington.”

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

Cantor, a ardent fiscal conservative who moved the party to the right in budget fights, angered the GOP's more confrontational wing when he sought some middle ground on immigration. Cantor backed the Republican version of an immigration proposal that would enable illegal immigrants who entered the country as children to gain legal status and qualify for in-state college tuition rates but left their parents situations unresolved.