Ignoring his reversal, media mention McCain's immigration bill in context of his attempt to gain Hispanic support

››› ››› LILY YAN

In reporting on Sen. John McCain's efforts to woo Hispanic voters, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, the Politico, and Reuters mentioned McCain's previous support for comprehensive immigration reform but did not note that he has since said he would no longer support a comprehensive reform measure he co-sponsored.

In reports on Sen. John McCain's recent campaign stop in New Mexico and his attempt to woo Hispanic voters, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, the Politico, and Reuters mentioned McCain's previous support for comprehensive immigration reform without noting that McCain has since reversed himself on that issue. Indeed, at a January 30 Republican presidential debate, McCain said that he would no longer support the comprehensive reform bill he co-sponsored with Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) if it came up for a vote in the Senate. McCain now says 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.

Media Matters for America has previously documented other instances in which the Times, the Post, the Politico, and Reuters have each similarly ignored McCain's immigration reversal.

From a May 27 Los Angeles Times article:

Republicans nonetheless enter the battle for the West with distinct advantages.

As a native son and war hero who has a record of pushing immigration overhaul, McCain has an entree with Latino voters, who many strategists believe will be critical again this election.

On Monday, his campaign released a Web ad targeting Latino veterans. And McCain will continue to focus on those voters in the months ahead, his strategist Charles Black said.

Obama, in contrast, has struggled to win support among Latinos throughout the primary season.

Speaking to reporters Monday in Las Cruces, he acknowledged the challenge. "We're going to have to work hard to get known by the voters in this region," he said. "But I think the message of changing Washington, delivering on universal healthcare, having an energy policy that is actually coherent, I think that is all critically important to the people here."

From a May 27 Washington Post article:

"These are going to be important battleground states," Obama said. "I think we can win in the West. I think that Governor Richardson has offered a model in New Mexico that is applicable in Nevada, is applicable to Colorado."

McCain's history of promoting immigration reform is expected to serve him well in states with significant Latino populations, though the Arizonan may suffer from the hard-line stand many in his party have taken toward illegal immigrants.

McCain released a Web ad aimed at Hispanic veterans on Monday in which the senator says that Latinos fought in Vietnam and are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that some "love this country so much that they're willing to risk their lives in its service in order to accelerate their path to citizenship."

From a May 26 Reuters blog post:

U.S. Hispanics support for the Republican Party, small but growing steadily over the past decade, has ebbed in the past year, following a bruising battle over illegal immigration.

Republican lawmakers last June sank a comprehensive immigration bill -- co-sponsored by McCain -- that would have created a path to citizenship for many of the 12 million mostly Hispanic undocumented immigrants in the United States.

A report by the Pew Hispanic Center in December, before McCain emerged as the Republican front-runner, found that just 23 percent of Hispanic registered voters called themselves Republicans -- 5 percentage points fewer than in 2006.

Both McCain and Democrat rival Senator Barack Obama made campaign stops on Monday in New Mexico, one of several swing states with significant Latino populations that may prove key in the November election.

From a May 27 Politico article, which reported that McCain "took a lead until last year on comprehensive immigration reform," but did not mention that beyond simply ceasing to "lead" on the issue, McCain has reversed himself on his own legislation:

Demographics, political trendlines and economic conditions help explain why Democratic strategists see the region as favorable terrain this year. After a vigorous attempt by Bush to appeal to Hispanics, who backed him with 40 percent of their vote in 2004, the anti-immigration bills pushed by Republican congressional leaders since then have alienated many in this voting bloc. Colorado has been trending Democratic, Nevada has been hit hard by the housing foreclosure crisis and New Mexico has swung between the parties in the last two presidential elections.

Obama will face a challenge from Sen. John McCain, who has represented Arizona for more than 20 years and took a lead until last year on comprehensive immigration reform, which won him a following among Hispanic voters.

Both candidates campaigned Monday in New Mexico, where both claimed strength in the region.

"I believe as a Western senator I understand the issues, the challenges of the future for these ... states, whether it be land, water, Native American issues, preservation, environmental issues," McCain said in an interview with The Associated Press.

He said his positions on a number of issues -- "pro-life, pro-military, pro-small business" and immigration -- "will allow me to receive the consideration of the Hispanic voter."

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