NPR's Williams, Fox's Morris asserted that McCain went against GOP on immigration without noting his reversals

››› ››› TOM ALLISON

NPR's Juan Williams asserted that Sen. John McCain "has fought his own party, the GOP, on immigration." And Fox News' Dick Morris stated that McCain "really has moved to the left of the Republican Party" on "the immigration bill." However, neither Williams nor Morris mentioned that McCain has reversed his position on immigration and now asserts that "we've got to secure the borders first" -- a position at odds with his prior assertion that border security could not be disaggregated from other aspects of comprehensive immigration reform without being rendered ineffective.

On the May 20 edition of National Public Radio's Morning Edition, NPR news analyst Juan Williams said of Sen. John McCain, "His strength really is with independents as what I think of as brand rebel. The maverick who has fought his own party, the GOP, on immigration, campaign finance reform, the treatment of detainees." However, Williams did not mention that McCain has reversed his position on immigration and now asserts that "we've got to secure the borders first" -- a position at odds with his prior assertion that border security could not be disaggregated from other aspects of comprehensive immigration reform without being rendered ineffective. Indeed, during CNN's January 30 Republican presidential debate, McCain stated that he "would not" support his own comprehensive immigration proposal, which included a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, if it came to a vote on the Senate floor. McCain has also reversed his position on the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. According to an MSNBC.com article, the DREAM Act would have allowed "illegal immigrants under age 30 to remain in the United States and gain legal status if they attend college or join the military."

Similarly, during the May 19 edition of Fox News' America's Election HQ, Fox News contributor Dick Morris said, "Well, I think that McCain has always been the Republican senator who is most in the center -- or most, really, in the left. He is the only one of -- one of the only ones that is aggressive on global warming and climate change. He is anti-tobacco, campaign finance reform, corporate governance reform, McCain-Feingold, the immigration bill -- on all of that stuff he really has moved to the left of the Republican Party." Morris also did not mention McCain's reversals on immigration. Further, McCain does not share Morris' view that he "has always been the Republican senator who is most in the center -- or most, really, in the left." In a February 7 speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, McCain stated, "My record in public office taken as a whole is the record of a mainstream conservative." He also said in the speech: "If I am so fortunate as to be the Republican nominee for president, I will offer Americans, in what will be a very challenging and spirited contest, a clearly conservative approach to governing."

From the May 20 edition of NPR's Morning Edition:

STEVE INSKEEP (host): NPR news analyst Juan Williams is tracking that; he's in our studios. Good morning, Juan

WILLIAMS: Good morning, Steve.

INSKEEP: Are conservatives any more impressed with John McCain than they were some weeks ago?

WILLIAMS: Not really. It's been a slow climb for the senator from Arizona. Polls show only half of conservatives now say they will definitely vote for McCain over, let's say, Senator [Barack] Obama or Senator [Hillary] Clinton. His strength really is with independents as what I think of as brand rebel. The maverick who has fought his own party, the GOP, on immigration, campaign finance reform, the treatment of detainees. So this helps him, it serves him well among independents, where he is currently ahead of Senator Clinton, slightly behind Senator Obama. But when you think about how he has been defining himself, Steve, he has opposed the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage historically. He recently gave a speech on global warming that angered the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity because they see him as buying into global warming. He spoke to La Raza, again appealing to the Hispanic vote, and some in the GOP said that was pandering. And what he's offered the base is things like, you know, saying he's going to appoint strict constructionist judges in the hope that that base will come around in the fall.

INSKEEP: Well, you know, we've been talking about this on the program, we heard from David Keane a few days ago of the American Conservative Union, who said, he looked over those results and you just said and said that he thinks McCain is approaching this in a quasi-schizophrenic way. He ducks right, he ducks left, he ducks right, he ducks left. But then Keane went on to say, when he adds it all up he's, quote, "marginally more reassured." He's gotten a little bit of what he wants. Is that going to be enough for conservatives to stay on board with McCain?

WILLIAMS: It's a matter of, sort of, you know, my enemy's enemy is my friend, Steve. And they clearly are interested in trying to maintain Republican power and they face such a daunting task in trying to hold on to anything in the House and the Senate right now that McCain is the best bet. But as I said earlier McCain is brand rebel and it's hard to think that he's going to have coattails that will carry other Republicans. So, he -- it really is all about McCain at this point and he'd like to, for instance, have President Bush's base. He wants that base. And so he'd like -- also like to have President Bush's fundraising ability. But he's got to deal with the fact that President Bush has historically high disapproval numbers.

From the May 19 edition of Fox News' American Election HQ:

GREGG JARRETT (guest co-host): Who's got the upper hand going into November? My next guest says Barack Obama does, but thinks McCain can still beat him. Former Clinton adviser Dick Morris is here. You can read his column for free, by the way, at dickmorris.com. Dick, good to see you.

MORRIS: Good to be here, Gregg.

JARRETT: You argue, among other things, that McCain is more electable, perhaps, in November, or can win in November, because he's attractive to independents. And I looked it up -- a recent poll showed that 13 percent of independents favor McCain over Barack Obama. Why is that?

MORRIS: Well, I think that McCain has always been the Republican senator who is most in the center -- or most, really, in the left. He's the only one of -- one of the only ones that is aggressive on global warming and climate change. He's anti-tobacco, campaign finance reform, corporate governance reform, McCain-Feingold, the immigration bill -- on all of that stuff, he really has moved to the left of the Republican Party.

And as such, he's very attractive to Democrats and independents. The Republicans could not have named a candidate who could be more effective in getting the votes of Democrats and independents.

Posted In
Immigration, Immigration Reform
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel, NPR
Person
Dick Morris, Juan Williams
Show/Publication
Morning Edition, America's Election HQ
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