Brzezinski falsely asserted that McCain "stood by" his views on immigration

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

On Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski said of Sen. John McCain, "[F]or the most part, he really does stick to his views even if they're unpopular," adding that McCain's "views on immigration were unpopular, and he stood by them even at the peril of his campaign." In fact, McCain once called for comprehensive reform that addressed the creation of a guest-worker program, a path to citizenship, and border security, but now says he supports addressing border security first.

On the February 4 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, co-host Mika Brzezinski said of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), "[F]or the most part, he really does stick to his views even if they're unpopular," adding that McCain's "views on immigration were unpopular, and he stood by them even at the peril of his campaign." In fact, McCain has reversed his position on a key element of the immigration debate: He once called for comprehensive reform that addressed the creation of a guest-worker program, a path to citizenship, and border security, arguing that border security would be ineffective "no matter how formidable the barriers" without the establishment of a "temporary worker program," but now says he supports addressing border security first. Further, he has recently made inconsistent statements on his support for his own immigration bill. During CNN's January 30 Republican presidential debate, McCain asserted that he "would not" support his own comprehensive immigration proposal if it came to a vote on the Senate floor, despite having stated on the January 27 edition of NBC's Meet the Press that he would sign that very legislation into law if he were elected president.

In a January 27 appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, McCain claimed that Americans "want the border secured first -- and I will do that," adding that "then, we will have a temporary worker program with tamper-proof biometric documents, and any employer who employs someone in any other circumstances will be prosecuted":

RUSSERT: If the Senate passed your bill, S.1433, the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill, would you, as president, sign it?

McCAIN: Yeah, but we -- look, the lesson is, it isn't won. It isn't going to come. It isn't going to come. The lesson is they want the borders secured first. That's the lesson. I come from a border state. I know how to fix those borders with walls, with UAVs, with sensors, with cameras, with vehicle barriers. They want the borders secured first -- and I will do that. And, as president, I will have the border-state governors secure -- certify those borders are secured.

And then, we will have a temporary worker program with tamper-proof biometric documents, and any employer who employs someone in any other circumstances will be prosecuted. That means a lot of people will leave just normally because they're not going to be able to get a job. Then, of course, we have to get rid of the two million people who have committed crimes here. We have to round them up and deport them.

By contrast, in a March 30, 2006, Senate floor statement, McCain said: "While strengthening border security is an essential component of national security, it must also be accompanied by immigration reforms." He added: "[A]s long as there are jobs available in this country for people who live in poverty and hopelessness in other countries, those people will risk their lives to cross our borders -- no matter how formidable the barriers -- and most will be successful." McCain further asserted that in order to "reflect that reality," "[w]e need to establish a temporary worker program." From McCain's statement:

While strengthening border security is an essential component of national security, it must also be accompanied by immigration reforms. We have seen time and again that as long as there are jobs available in this country for people who live in poverty and hopelessness in other countries, those people will risk their lives to cross our borders -- no matter how formidable the barriers -- and most will be successful.

Our reforms need to reflect that reality, and help us separate economic immigrants from security risks. We need to establish a temporary worker program that permits workers from other countries -- to the extent they are needed -- to fill jobs that would otherwise go unfilled.

A November 4, 2007, Associated Press article about McCain's change in position on immigration quoted him telling reporters that "I understand why you would call it a, quote, shift" and that "I say it is a lesson learned about what the American people's priorities are. And their priority is to secure the borders."

From the February 4 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:

BRZEZINSKI: And he is a war hero who has some experience with this.

SCARBOROUGH: I guess.

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah.

SCARBOROUGH: Well, I mean, he's a war hero.

BRZEZINSKI: Uh-huh.

SCARBOROUGH: There's no doubt about the fact John McCain is a war hero, but that in and of itself doesn't mean that he's ready to be president of the United States. There are a lot of war heroes out there that we wouldn't want to be commander in chief.

BRZEZINSKI: OK.

SCARBOROUGH: Would you agree with that?

BRZEZINSKI: I don't think John McCain is one of them. I think that he has some pretty good experience with this.

SCARBOROUGH: So you're going to vote for John McCain then?

BRZEZINSKI: I don't know who I'm going to vote for yet, but I think that he's a potentially very good candidate.

SCARBOROUGH: It ain't going to be a Republican. You know what, Mika? This is --

BRZEZINSKI: What?

SCARBOROUGH: You're doing the old bait and switch.

BRZEZINSKI: Mm-hmm. No, no, no, no, no.

SCARBOROUGH: No, seriously, I love how Democrats all go, "Oh, I love McCain. I love McCain. Oh, John McCain's great. Oh, John McCain, he's really" --

BRZEZINSKI: No, I just think you have been --

SCARBOROUGH: The second McCain wins the nomination, you watch this, the second McCain wins the nomination, it's going to be, "Oh, he's a right-wing nut on abortion. He's a right-wing nut on guns. He's frightening."

BRZEZINSKI: Here's what I like about him --

SCARBOROUGH: "He wants to invade every country in the Middle East."

BRZEZINSKI: Excuse me --

SCARBOROUGH: Mika, you know that's going to happen. It's the bait and switch. "I love John McCain."

BRZEZINSKI: What I have always said about John McCain is that he sticks -- for the most part, he really does stick to his views even if they're unpopular.

SCARBOROUGH: Yeah.

BRZEZINSKI: And you know what?

SCARBOROUGH: And that inspires you today.

BRZEZINSKI: Like Ronald Reagan, who also had an amnesty bill of his own, McCain's views on immigration were unpopular, and he stood by them even at the peril of his campaign. So --

SCARBOROUGH: Well, you mark my word, I've been telling you that the media loves John McCain. You mark my word.

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah.

SCARBOROUGH: We'll do sort of Huckaspeak: The second McCain wins the Republican nomination, they will descend on him like a wild pack of dogs eating raw meat.

Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Mika Brzezinski
Show/Publication
Morning Joe
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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