National Journal repeatedly referred to how Sen. John McCain “buck[ed] his party on immigration” prior to 2008, but did not address McCain's flip-flop on immigration reform during the 2008 presidential campaign.
In an April 4 article, National Journal reported that "[Sen.] John McCain sounds angry and frustrated that, despite the risks he took in pushing immigration reform, Hispanic voters flocked to Democrat Barack Obama in last year's presidential contest," and that "[a]fter bucking his party on immigration, [McCain] had no sympathy for Hispanics who are dissatisfied with President Obama's pace on the issue." The article described McCain as "[h]aving stuck his neck out in the past" for Hispanics, and also stated: “In 2006 and 2007, McCain was a leader on immigration, but his efforts ran aground largely because his legislation included what many Republicans derisively characterized as 'amnesty.' ” Yet, despite repeatedly referring to how McCain “buck[ed] his party on immigration” prior to 2008, at no point did the article address McCain's flip-flop on immigration reform during the 2008 presidential campaign. As a candidate, McCain said he would vote against his own comprehensive immigration bill if it came to the Senate floor, arguing that border security must be addressed before any other reforms.
During CNN's January 30, 2008, Republican presidential debate, McCain asserted, "[W]e'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. During the same debate, McCain said he “would not” support his own comprehensive immigration proposal -- that included a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants -- if it came to a vote on the Senate floor.
From the April 4 National Journal article:
John McCain sounds angry and frustrated that, despite the risks he took in pushing immigration reform, Hispanic voters flocked to Democrat Barack Obama in last year's presidential contest. McCain's raw emotions burst forth recently as he heatedly told Hispanic business leaders that they should now look to Obama, not him, to take the lead on immigration.
McCain's message was obvious, the source continued: After bucking his party on immigration, he had no sympathy for Hispanics who are dissatisfied with President Obama's pace on the issue. “He threw out [the words] 'You people -- you people made your choice. You made your choice during the election,' ” the source said. “It was almost as if [he was saying] 'You're cut off!' We felt very uncomfortable when we walked away from the meeting because of that.”
In 2006 and 2007, McCain was a leader on immigration, but his efforts ran aground largely because his legislation included what many Republicans derisively characterized as “amnesty,” a pathway to citizenship for the nation's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants if they took a series of steps to earn legal status.
Having stuck his neck out in the past, McCain apparently is in no mood to do so again for an ethnic group he seems to view as ungrateful. On NBC's Meet the Press on March 29, McCain repeated his message that the ball is in the Democratic president's court. So far, the senator said, he has not seen much on immigration from the Obama White House, although the president recently met with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and set the goal of launching the debate in the fall, a senior administration official said.
“What I saw ... was John McCain saying, 'Look, I didn't get a lot of support from the Hispanic community,' which he deserved to have had,” Martinez said. “It frustrated me. It frustrated him. [McCain said,] 'You guys thought this guy [Obama] was going to be your savior. Where is his leadership?' I sort of echo that. It's not like [the meeting] went badly, I don't think.”
McCain's communications director, Brooke Buchanan, also disputed the notion that her boss's temper had flared at the meeting. She did not attend, but said she had been briefed at length about it.
Buchanan noted McCain's history of pushing immigration reform in the face of staunch opposition from many in his party, his work across the aisle with Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and his popularity among Hispanics in Arizona.