McCain said Tuesday the immigration bill does not propose an amnesty policy.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Notably missing from President Bush's meeting with Capitol Hill Republicans to discuss immigration reform Tuesday, Arizona Sen. John McCain addressed the hot button issue of amnesty while on the campaign trail in California.
"I think that amnesty means forgiveness. Amnesty means any past infraction that you have committed, then is forgiven. This is a very serious punishment," McCain said. He added, "You're paying a heavy penalty. That's like saying, if you're guilty of a traffic violation and you go and pay the fine, then you're getting amnesty. That doesn't fit my definition."
McCain's unwavering support for immigration reform isn't popular with conservatives, and his unrelenting support for the war in Iraq isn't popular with the majority of Americans. But McCain said he's happy about where he stands among his Republican rivals in recent polls.
"The polls bounce around a lot. We're happy with where we are now and how we're doing," McCain said. "And it's tough. It's a tough campaign, and I understand how strongly people feel on immigration, how people feel on some of the issues that I've been in the arena on."
McCain also said he'd welcome actor and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson into the race.
"He's a very attractive man. And maybe there's an argument that he should be president. He's been president two or three times before," McCain said. "I understand that Fred's a very attractive and articulate guy, so I say, come on in, the water's fine."
– CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
As the immigration debate continues in Congress, family members touch hands through a U.S.-Mexico border fence in San Ysidro, California.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Border security provisions included in the immigration bill currently stalled in the Senate can be enforced under current laws, nine Republican senators said, and they urged President Bush on Tuesday to order their enforcement - regardless of whether the bill passes.
"The bill assumes that several critical border security benchmarks can be achieved within 18 months. These security triggers are already authorized under current law," the senators said in a letter.
"We believe these enforcement measures are vital and should not wait until Congress passes additional immigration reforms. Securing the border is best way to restore trust with the American people and facilitate future improvements of our immigration policy."
The letter is signed by Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina.; Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma.; Mike Enzi, R-Wyoming; David Vitter, R-Louisiana.; Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma.; Jim Bunning, R-Kentucky; Charles Grassley, R-Iowa; John Ensign, R-Nevada; and Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama.
Watch Sen. Sessions discuss his views on the immigration bill.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Bush faces a tall order when he joins Republican senators Tuesday at their weekly policy luncheon at the Capitol in an effort to revive the immigration bill, one of his legislative priorities.
Unless Bush can convince 15 more Republicans to support the measure, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, indicated he won't bring the bill to the floor for a vote.
"I think the president is wrong to push this piece of legislation so hard after we've demonstrated the flaws that are in it. He needs to back off," Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, told CNN's "American Morning" on Tuesday.
"He needs to back off. He needs to help us write a better bill and not push a bill that so many of us can't support."
Sessions disagreed with Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Arizona, who also was on the program, that this is the last chance to pass legislation addressing the nation's some 12 million illegal immigrants, about half of whom crossed into Arizona from Mexico.
"We have one good opportunity to pass immigration reform, and its within the next few weeks in the U.S. Congress. I think all of the experts agree that thereafter we get into the presidential/political season. Next year it's not going to be possible," Kyl said.
"I think the president understands that this is really our last best hope to get legislation through, that we just cannot sit by and do nothing," Kyl said.
White House spokesman Tony Snow said on "American Morning" he expects Republicans to band together to add amendments to the bill, and it could be voted on by the end of Tuesday - after senators take up the energy bill.
Listen to the latest Race to '08 podcast.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley and CNN's John Lisk take a look at the bump Sen. Hillary Clinton got from the Democratic Debate in New Hampshire, what it means for her and some of the others in the field, in the latest Race to '08 podcast.
Giuliani outlined his 12 point plan Tuesday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It’s not quite the Bible's "Ten Commandments," but former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani journeyed to the political holy land of New Hampshire Tuesday to outline his "Twelve Commitments" to the American people.
"This is something that we've worked on for some time," Giuliani said in speech in Bedford, New Hampshire. "We have tried to study what we think are the most important issues, at least at this point, in the election.
"We tried to look a forward to the future, what are the things that are going to lead us to the future in a confident and optimistic way," he added.
The commitments to the voters range from fighting terrorism and ending illegal immigration to cutting taxes and improving education.
Giuliani vowed to detail each commitment individually in the coming weeks.
The twelve commitments:
-I will keep America on offense in the Terrorists’ War on Us.
-I will end illegal immigration, secure our borders, and identify every non-citizen in our nation.
-I will restore fiscal discipline and cut wasteful Washington spending.
-I will cut taxes and reform the tax code.
-I will impose accountability on Washington.
-I will lead America towards energy independence.
-I will give Americans more control over, and access to, healthcare with affordable and portable free-market solutions.
-I will increase adoptions, decrease abortions, and protect the quality of life for our children.
-I will reform the legal system and appoint strict constructionist judges.
-I will ensure that every community in America is prepared for terrorist attacks and natural disasters.
-I will provide access to a quality education to every child in America by giving real school choice to parents.
-I will expand America’s involvement in the global economy and strengthen our reputation around the world.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Watch the latest edition of Strategy Session.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In the latest edition of Strategy Session, Democratic strategist Paul Begala and Terry Jeffrey, editor of Human Events, break down the latest poll numbers out of New Hampshire that show Clinton is viewed as the strongest leader, but not most likeable.
Watch CNN's Wolf Blitzer interview former Sens. Frist and Daschle.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - CNN's Wolf Blitzer talked to former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle and Bill Frist Monday about immigration reform, embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and the bipartisan ONE Vote '08 campaign to combat poverty.
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby leaves the courthouse in Washington last week after being sentenced to 30 months in prison.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald urged a federal judge Tuesday not to delay former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's 2 1/2-year prison sentence in the CIA leak case.
Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, has argued that he has a good chance of winning an appeal and should be allowed to remain free until that challenge has run its course.
U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, who sentenced Libby to prison for lying to authorities and obstructing the investigation into the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson's identity, has said he sees no reason to grant Libby's request.
Clinton has increased her lead over Obama in New Hampshire according to a new CNN/WMUR poll.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Where do things stand with New Hampshire Democrats since the Democratic presidential candidates debated in Manchester June 3?
The CNN/WMUR/New Hampshire Union Leader debate did exactly what it was supposed to do. It helped the New Hampshire voters sort out the candidates.
In early April, New Hampshire Democrats were all over the place. The front-runners - Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York; Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois; and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina - were closely matched. Clinton was at 27 percent, Edwards was at 21 percent and Obama was at 20 percent. It was essentially a jump ball.