Congressman Tom Tancredo, R-Colorado
ATLANTA (CNN) – Congressman Tom Tancredo, R-Colorado, said Friday that Thursday night’s defeat of the immigration bill will be the “death knell” for Arizona Senator John McCain’s presidential bid.
The GOP rival for the nomination made the comments in an interview Friday on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” show.
“I think that the silver lining in this bill and the fact that we've debated this bill and the fact that he's pushed it so hard, it probably means there will never be a President John McCain,” Tancredo said in the interview.
Tancredo – who strongly opposed McCain on the immigration bill – has built his campaign around the issue. “This is becoming as big an issue for him as is for me in a way,” he said. The fact that the immigration legislation failed, he said, should send a clear message to McCain and his supporters.
“[T]his is sort of the death knell for John McCain's campaign,” Tancredo said.
In response, the McCain campaign had no comment.
But in his first public reaction to the Senate setback, McCain told a town hall meeting in Pella, Iowa on Friday that he was “disappointed but I respect the process and respect the views of those who disagree.” McCain added, “I hope we can revisit the issue.”
“The President of the United States and I and many others were hopeful that we could come to some conclusion on this. Well, my friends, because we didn't then, as I said, several hundred people will cross the Arizona border today and into Arizona and go around the country, and several hundred tomorrow and then the next day. So it's not an issue that we can say, well, it's over. Because it's not over,” McCain said. “We still have broken borders and we still have this problem of not finding out who these people are.”
McCain defended his efforts on the immigration deal, telling reporters, “I do what I think is right. The people of Arizona sent me to Washington to do the hard things.”
- CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk