July 14th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain reassures Latinos on immigration

McCain will defend his immigration record, attack Obama’s later Monday.

McCain will defend his immigration record, attack Obama’s later Monday.

PHOENIX (CNN) – John McCain told the National Council of La Raza on Monday that he is and always has been committed to comprehensive immigration reform.

McCain is defending his record amidst criticism from Barack Obama, who has asserted in recent speeches to Hispanic groups that the presumptive Republican nominee backed away from his support for immigration reform when it became a political liability in the Republican primaries.

Election Center: Where the candidates stand on immigration

Obama told the NCLR on Sunday that McCain “abandoned his courageous stance” on immigration during his presidential run, a charge McCain plans to push back against today in San Diego.

“I feel I must, as they say, correct the record,” said McCain. “At a moment of great difficulty in my campaign, when my critics said it would be political suicide for me to do so, I helped author with Senator Kennedy comprehensive immigration reform, and fought for its passage.

“I took my lumps for it without complaint. My campaign was written off as a lost cause. I did so not just because I believed it was the right thing to do for Hispanic Americans. It was the right thing to do for all Americans.”

Conservatives blasted the McCain-Kennedy bill. McCain later decided he would not support the legislation, which failed to become law, until the country's southern border is secured.

McCain argued that Obama, in fact, helped defeat the McCain-Kennedy immigration by voting for “amendments that were intended to kill the legislation.”

“I remain committed to fair, practical and comprehensive immigration reform, I mean it,” he said. “I think I have earned that trust.”

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (208 Responses)
  1. Nia - AZ by way of MN

    More then I can say he has done for Arizona's immagration issue.

    July 14, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. Peter E

    'Ooo, I'm such a genius! I can put Mc in front of insulting words and think I'm making an argument! Man, I'm so clever! And my name-calling in no way undermines Obama's message of positive change and hope.'

    July 14, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  3. Peter E

    Once again notice people talking about McCain's stance and record on issues, but not Obama's... but then again Obama doesn't really have either...

    July 14, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  4. Peter E

    At least McCain HAS a record on immigration. Obama's entire stance on issues can be summed up by 'I'm a victim of racism' and 'Hillary is the cause of all evil.'

    July 14, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  5. PoliticalExpediency

    Talk of flip flopping. CNN I want a better Headline. Stop hiding behind that script that you were given before hand. I want news, not what Mccain want. Tell me why he is changing his position and he is not being called for it!

    Go, go Obama. we love you and America and the world loves you and michelle, malia, sasha!

    July 14, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. Alan, Bonita Springs, FL

    What "reforming" is needed is ENFORCEMENT of the current immigration laws. Not immigration itself. Obama's plan to crack down on EMPLOYERS who hire illegals at below-minimum wage is a GREAT way to stop illegals flooding across borders that are impossible to totally secure. If you have to pay an illegal the same as a citizen - why not hire the citizen...especially if they speak English?

    When the jobs dry up so to the illegal immigrants.

    McCain is just desperate.

    July 14, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. people say No to McCain

    Cindy was asked about the lie her husband told regarding their dating....her response, RUN FROM THE QUESTION. go figure, the McCain's only know how to run from the truth. Immigration, Off shore drilling his voting record, USS Forrestal, his military record...you name it and John will run from it.

    July 14, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. Selected not elected

    Who cares about Hispanics and Latinos?

    The Obama has spoken... Black is the color... or African Americans will start to threaten everyone again.

    Imagine the tail (12 % of the population) wagging the dog (the other 88%).

    And it worked to get Obama installed as the democratic party nominee.

    July 14, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  9. beachgirl

    Interesting to hear them (Obama and McCain) say anything in order to get the Latino vote, my vote went to Hillary and it will stay there!!!! She is the only one that is smart!!!

    July 14, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. Peter (CA)

    Peter E...clever arguments

    July 14, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  11. Jon, Pittsburgh, PA

    The things that matter – most on this blog and others do not want to focus on. They would rather focus on sound-bites. Listen guys – Sound-bites are not what gets things done or stops things from getting done – VOTES DO.

    McCain has proven himself to be focused on supporting legislation that he feels is right for this great country. He is a true leader in this manner. His opponent doesn't even vote if it's not a win for him politically. His record in the IL State Senate confirms this as does his record in the US Senate.

    Arizona4Obama – how about you tell me what 5 reasons you have to vote for Obama and 5 not to vote for McCain. Don't make anything up and don't give me promises – give me votes and legislative results. You will have a difficult time coming up with 5 things that Obama has done in this regard.

    And CNN please post my words for a change.

    July 14, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  12. Divide&conquor!

    Hispanics are Americans! Period!

    July 14, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. Bitter and ex-Hillary supporter

    I like action better than inaction (i.e., Obama is all talk and just says what people want to hear.) Go McCain!!! You have my vote. Oslama should get real and just promise what can be delivered. He is overcommitted and is not going to make everyone happy. At least McCain is on the record going against his party with the attempt to fix the immigration problem. Now that Obama needs our vote he is being very nice. Viva McCain!!!!!!!!

    July 14, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. Hispanic For McCain

    Here we go again people here a such big WHINERS all you liberals Morons I said before and I said it again the Hispanic the Latinos don't trust OBAMA look at the NCLR they don't trust OBAMA. At least McCain won't turn his back on the Latinos People. OBAMA is against the Cuban Embargo, he Against the Mexican People and he Against ALL Latinos. Hispanic and Latinos open your eyes and see that between both men McCain has the better solution!!!! NOT Obama.

    Listen Hispanic for Obama, and Latinos for Obama open your eyes wide open he is not for the Hispanic Community!!! all he is is BLA BLA BLA. The Puertorican people don't trust obama, the Mexican, The Cuban, the Colombian, Dominican and the rest of the Hispanic community don't trust obama. Come next week you will See the Polls going to McCain for the Hispanic votes!!!! LOS HISPANOS PARA MCCAIN!!! LOS LATINOS PARA MCCAIN!!!

    Hispanic for McCain

    July 14, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. theyareallid10ts

    So it was ok for the term ZEBRA to be used on the TV show The Jeffersons? People need to quit whinning about every stupid little thing

    July 14, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. RepublicanstoGoAway!

    Hispanics are democrats. There is nothing to vote for Republicans. Their time of lying is gone and their time to use fear and smear is gone. Demonizing mexicans should not be rewarded.
    I am organizing for Obama in my campus!

    July 14, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  17. H-ROD


    July 14, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  18. Hispanic For McCain

    That is right Latinos are going for McCain!!!

    July 14, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  19. Pat Riot

    I'm confused about all of this pandering to racial groups. Are the Latinos he is addressing not Americans that went through the normal channels to gain citizenship? I would think they wouldn't want their communities overrun with illegals any less than anyone else. A nation without borders and laws is not a nation at all. We have the law so why not enforce it? We have borders so why not protect them? I have no racial bias towards illegal immagrants and I believe that the rights of every individual to pursue happiness should be garunteed but this is not up for debate. There is law, these people broke it, they are not citizens of this country and should be deported.

    July 14, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  20. RB TX

    Obama needs to keep the record straight and only talk to organizations he really supports like the NAACP. The NCLR was built on principle and supports candidates that have values and have the best interest of the Hispanic people in mind.

    Obama has no principle and repeatedly tries and points out faults of everybody else when he needs to work on sticking to an issue instead of going back and forth.

    My fellow Hispanics do not be fooled by rhetoric, look at the facts and support McCain who has our best interests in mind, inspite of what Obama might say today, tomorrow and then change his mind again.
    Just look at Obamas voting record.

    Hispanics for McCain
    Real Values

    July 14, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  21. Brian Phoenix AZ

    It was an Amnesty bill pure and simple and you angered a lot of voters in Arizona with it, John.

    July 14, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  22. FactCheck

    Please, you angry/bitter/idiot HRC supporters, please go ahead and vote for McCain. There is nothing I like better than to see Darwinian evolution weed out your type from the population and 4 more years of high taxes, high gas prices, cuts in Medicare and Social Security will do exactly that. Please do us this favor so we don't have to listen to your whining anymore.

    July 14, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  23. x-HillarysupporterforObama!

    I am all the way to the Oval Office with Obama.

    Obama for the people.

    Mcbush for Elitist like himself and his wife!

    July 14, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  24. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Obama looked very comfortable addressing that group. McCain looked as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. That tells me all I need to know.

    July 14, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  25. NewMexico4Obama

    Obama, you have My vote.

    I am a proud hispanic for Obama.......I want a non white example to my son. If you are born In U.S.A you should have equal Opportunity like anybody else!

    July 14, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
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