News Column

McCain's Border Dance Continues, Says Democratic National Committee

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, May 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- After announcing the new Spanish-language page of his website during a press conference in Arizona this morning, John McCain once again tried to have it both ways on the immigration reform debate, demonstrating yet again that he's not able to lead his own Party, much less the country.

McCain said he would pursue comprehensive immigration reform as soon as he takes office. But in the same news conference, McCain also took the opposite position: saying that the borders have to be secured first. McCain touted a virtual fence today and said we could have secured the border if it wasn't for all the earmarks and pork spending in Washington. But as recently as March, McCain called the virtual fence a "failed effort" and a "disgrace." Asked whether state and local law enforcement agencies should be enforcing federal immigration laws, McCain said "I support the enforcement of every law that's on the books in the United States of America." But moments later McCain took the opposite position, blaming the federal government for having "failed to act" and asserting, "when I'm president, beginning in January 0f 2009 we will have a federal approach to what is a federal problem."

Today's news conference was the latest in a string of double talk on immigration reform. Earlier this year, McCain caved in to the right wing of his Party, admitting that he would vote against his own immigration reform bill if it came to the floor of the Senate. And, despite today's rhetoric about the need for comprehensive immigration reform, McCain's campaign scuttled a deal on comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S. House of Representatives just last month. [CNN debate, 1/30/08;; Roll Call, 4/3/08]

McCain's double-talk is indicative of a major problem the GOP nominee faces heading to the general election, trying to both appease the Party's conservative base while trying to reach out to moderate voters and Hispanics who have been targeted with ugly Republican Party attacks on the immigration issue. A recent survey from the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center found that 57% of Hispanic registered voters call themselves or lean Democrat "while just 23% align with the Republican Party -- meaning there is now a 34-percentage-point gap in partisan affiliation among Latinos." [Pew Hispanic Center, 12/06/07]

"It's hard to know what someone's real vision for our country is when they consistently take every side of the issues," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Luis Miranda. "John McCain cannot have it both ways. He cannot pander to the right wing of his Party by promising an enforcement-only approach to immigration while telling Hispanics that he supports comprehensive reform. As the saying goes, 'dime con quien andas, y te dire quien eres.' If John McCain can't say where he really stands, he's giving voters one more example of why he is the wrong choice for America's future."

A DNC Interested Parties Memo on McCain's difficulty with Hispanics can be found in PDF format by clicking on the link below. More McCain Double Talk on Immigration Reform

MCCAIN TODAY: We Can Secure Border With "Vehicle barriers, Cameras, Sensors." "All of that can be worked out and adequately so, particularly when you get outside of populated areas where you can use vehicle barriers, cameras, sensors and many other ways. It is an issue that in my view is not only not insurmountable, but it can be worked out in cooperation between state and local and government agencies." [McCain Media Availability, Phoenix (AZ), feed, 5/5/08]

MCCAIN IN MARCH: McCain Called Arizona's "High-Tech" Virtual Fence a "Failed Effort" and a "Disgrace." The AP reported McCain "told reporters in Phoenix on Monday that not enough research has been done on the 28-mile array of radars and surveillance cameras. McCain says it is a failed effort." "It's a - it's a disgrace. It's a disgrace. They spent a huge amount of money on this quote virtual fence and it's just. I mean. I - It's so disappointing when the Americans highest, one of their highest priorities is to secure our borders, that we have a major corporation that gets a major contract and it turns into be a failed effort, but, in no way does this diminish my enthusiasm or anybody else's to get our borders secure." [CNN Live Feed (Phoenix, AZ), 3/3/08; [AP, 3/3/08]]

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