McCain says "time is not on our side" for immigration deal
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN)– Senator John McCain said Saturday that time is running out to forge a compromise on immigration reform. "Hopefully we can come to an agreement, but in all candor, a little straight talk, time is not on our side." The republican presidential candidate from Arizona made the comments following a town hall meeting in Newton, Iowa.
"The status quo is de facto amnesty," he said. "So for us to do nothing and celebrate the fact that we stopped this legislation, then those who have a better idea can give it to us so we can consider it and move forward." An immigration reform proposal put forward by McCain, and a group of bi-partisan senators fell short of the votes needed to cut off debate in the Senate earlier this week.
His appearance in Iowa came just days after his campaign announced he would not participate in the state's GOP straw poll this August."It was a tough decision, it really was, but we intend to be in the caucuses." His competitor, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, announced he was making the same move as well. Like McCain, he also intends to compete in the Iowa caucuses.
– CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford
Senator Hillary Clinton, D-New York
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN)–Senator Hillary Clinton says she will oppose ratifaction of the U.S. free trade agreement with South Korea. Clinton says the agreement would harm the U.S. automotive industry and put American jobs at risk.
"Trade agreements need to be fair if they're going to work," the Democratic candidate president said in Detroit, Michigan before a townhall meeting hosted by the AFL-CIO. "While I value the strong relationship the United States enjoys with South Korea, I believe that this agreement is inhrently unfair. It will hurt the U.S. auto industry, increase our trade deficit, cost us middle-class jobs, and make America less competitive."
From Detroit, Clinton was traveling to Iowa for some afternoon and evening campaign events.
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) - Describing current immigration laws as "unacceptable," President George Bush urged senators on Saturday to support a bipartisan immigration bill that stalled two days earlier on the Senate floor.
"I understand the skepticism some members of Congress have regarding certain aspects of this legislation. Like any legislation, this bill is not perfect," Bush said in his taped weekly radio address, which aired while he was in Rome.
"Like many senators, I believe the bill will need to be further improved along the way before it becomes law."
Despite two weeks of heavy debate, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., pulled the bill from the Senate floor Thursday night, after it failed to garner the necessary votes to end debate and move toward a final vote.
Reid said the extended debate on immigration reform was getting in the way of other legislation, including an energy bill and a Democrat-sponsored motion of no confidence in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Several senators thought pulling the bill from the Senate floor was premature, and may have killed any chance of its success.
Reid gave up on this bill "too soon" and should have allowed the debate, with consideration of more amendments, to continue, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said. "We could have finished the bill in a couple more days, in my judgment."
Reid insisted that the bill, unveiled three weeks ago, was not dead. He vowed to keep working to find a way to get it passed "as soon as we can."
The president addressed one of the immigration bill's more controversial aspects: a provision that sets out a path to legalization and eventual citizenship for 12 million illegal immigrants. Several Republican opponents have labeled this provision amnesty.
"Amnesty is forgiveness with no penalty for people who have broken our laws to get here. In contrast, this bill requires illegal workers to pay a fine, register with the government, undergo background checks, pay their back taxes and hold a steady job," Bush said. "In short, they will have to prove themselves worthy of this great land."
On Thursday, Reid appealed to the president to help persuade GOP members to support the measure.
"Where are the president's men? Where are the president's people helping us with these votes?" the Nevada senator said.
The bill's opponents also includes lawmakers on the other side of the aisle - Democrats who balk at the legislation's guest worker program, which they contend would drive down wages and create a permanent underclass.
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN)–Howard Dean says it is incumbent on Democrats to bring the war in Iraq to a close, or risk becoming the minority party in Congress again.
"The American people hired Democrats last November to ensure we end this war, so let me be clear." Dean made the remarks Saturday in the Democratic response the President's weekly radio address. "We know if we don't keep our promise, we may find ourself in the minority again. But we have to face the reality. The Republicans in Congress are standing with President Bush as he stubbornly wields his veto pen in the face of overwhelming opposition to this war from the American people."
Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is a former governor of Vermont, and was a candidate for president in 2004.