Sen. McCain: Arizona could be 'up for grabs'
December 4th, 2011
10:33 AM ET
6 years ago

Sen. McCain: Arizona could be 'up for grabs'

Washington (CNN) – Republican Sen. John McCain said Sunday that his home state of Arizona could be won by President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election.

The 2008 GOP presidential nominee told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that Arizona and other southwest states “can be up for grabs” due to the growing Hispanic vote.

McCain won Arizona in 2008 by taking 54% of the vote to 45% for Obama. Next year, he said, the state’s voters could lean the other way.

“The demographics are clear,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “The Hispanic vote will be a major factor in national elections.”

Addressing the major issue of immigration, McCain admitted his party has some work to do, but added that Obama also faces challenges.

The Republican presidential candidates are divided over how to deal with more than 10 million immigrants who came to the country illegally and now are entrenched in U.S. society, many with families, jobs and roles in their communities.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has called for a system of review boards to determine whether individuals could remain in the country or be forced to leave, a position characterized by conservative competitors such as Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann as offering amnesty for lawbreakers.

“I think that the Republican Party has to discuss this issue in as humane a way as possible,” McCain said. At the same time, he noted that “the enthusiasm of Hispanics for President Obama is dramatically less than it was in 2008 because he has not fulfilled his campaign promises either, so I view the Hispanic vote is up for grabs.”

McCain argued most Hispanic voters agree that “we need so secure our borders, if for drugs alone,” but added that “we need to treat people humanely…people who are here, who have been here a long time.”

But, he said, “The fact is, we don’t need to trigger another flood of illegal aliens by believing if they can get across our border they would therefore be home free.”

“We have to have empathy, we have to have concern, we have to have a plan,” McCain stated.

Also see:

Gingrich carefully navigates Cain exit

Iowa newspaper backs Romney

Candidates react to Cain campaign suspension

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: 2012 • Arizona • Content Partner • Immigration • John McCain • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. TP

    Some one should explain to McCain the "10 million illegal immigrants" do not vote. Yes the Hispanic vote is going to be important, but no different than in the late 1800's and early 1900's when other immigrant minorities started voting together.

    December 4, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. Ken

    Obama through 2016 BABY' Get used to it LOSERS'

    December 4, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  3. The King

    “We have to have empathy, we have to have concern, we have to have a plan,” McCain stated.
    The republican party and empathy for anyone but the wealthy are mutually exclusive. Obama is going to win big next year.

    December 4, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  4. TIm

    John McCain is spot on. President Obama's best allies happen to be Republicans: people like Arpaio, Brewer, Tancredo, Walker, Ryan, Bachmann, etc. Every time an extreme Republican opens his/her mouth, he/she immediately scares moderate voters into Obama's bossom. Heck! I am far from impressed with Obama's first term. But if his opponent is going to be someone like Gingrich, whose first call of duty would be the destruction of federal government (his tax plan would strip federal revenue by two-thirds), then you can count on my enthusiastic vote for Obama. When will the GOP realize that their ideological fantasies have no currency with people who live in the reality-based community? As Steve Jobs correctly observed, the political divide in this country is no longer between 'liberal' and 'conservative'; the divide is between constructive and destructive. And the GOP, with only a few exceptions (e.g., Jon Huntsman), are on the side of destructive.

    December 4, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. Max


    McCain seems to be becoming senile. He's flip-flopping on this issue just like Romney and Gingrich. They all seems to be confused. They all refusing to take the correct stand. Grant these people amnesty as George Bush suggested...period!

    December 4, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. julio

    Obama 2012!!! Republicans just don't know what else to invent.!!they will kill poor people if they could

    December 4, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  7. greg

    McBain is race baiting–it's a cornerstone of GOP strategy to paint Democrats as the "colored" party and theirs as the white one. So if Democrats carry Arizona, it's a "hispanic" win so white voters better watch out. McBain has become a sad figure.

    December 4, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  8. TM

    Well, that certainly explains why GOP legislatures across the country are passing laws to take the vote away from minorities.

    December 4, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "The 2008 GOP presidential nominee told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that Arizona and other southwest states “can be up for grabs” due to the growing Hispanic vote."

    Translation: "Let me explain to you exactly why the election of a black man by an overwhelming majority of minority voters in 2008 sent the GOP into a gran mal hissy fit for the past 3 years and touched off complete bedlam from the right wing on issues like immigration, voting rights/fraud, the census, social assistance and services, redistricting, union organization, etc. etc. etc....."

    December 5, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  10. Damien

    Throw out all the illegal immigrants. The tens of thousands laid off by banks need the jobs picking veggies and flipping burgers.

    December 5, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  11. Publius Novus

    McCain is correct, although he may be a bit ahead of the curve. The Commentariat and the GOP have been talking about the population growth of southern and southwestern states and assuming that it will translate into growth in electoral strength for the Republicans. Several articles recently have appeared that question this CW. It is not at all clear that population growth in the south and southwest will help Republicans. Many of these new immigrants come not only from outside the country, but from purple and blue states. Why does the Commentariat and the GOP assume that these transplants will magically become Republicans. A Michigan Democrat who moves to Florida does not run out and register Republican. Likewise, the fastest growing segment of the population does not sign up for the party that denigrates people of color.

    December 5, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  12. Thomas

    That's because the GOP keeps saying, "How do we get the hispanic vote?", without actually bothering to address their concerns.

    December 5, 2011 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  13. Clwyd

    With all the nuts running the sate of Arizona being republicans I would hold that God would make the voters intelligent enough to vote for Obama over the party of the rich!

    December 5, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  14. Sniffit

    "This is precisely why the Democrats WANT illegal immigration.

    They want to grow their party, to the level where no other party can possibly win.........and establish a de facto dictatorship in America."

    And there we have it: 2 + 2. When the first black POTUS gets elected by an overwhelming majority of minority voters and youth voters, the GOP suddenly woke up to the changing demographics of our nation and realized they are SCREWED in a couple decades. Ergo, we were treated to a giant, inconsolable 4 year tantrum full of efforts to shift more and more away from teh federal gov't and all its horrible laws like the Voting Rights Act, etc., to the states and the wealthy/corporations. It's been amusing to watch just how very very very lazy and irresponsible the MSM has been not reporting about exactly why and what effect crazy nonsense about repealing the 10th Amendment, the 17th Amendment or creating state-run anti-immigration police states or allowing states to opt out of Medicare/Social Security has really been about and what underlies it all. Hint: "You want Medicare? Go to a blue state!" "You want districting that's not rigged to void your minority votes and install the GOP permanently in the state house? Go to a blue state!" "You want Social Security and child labor laws? Go to a blue state!" THAT is what it is ALL about...every single whining, angry, vicious, misinformed, demagoguing, ideological stilted talking point and pet project from the GOP/Teatrolls has been about for the past 3+ years...and if they're given power again, you can be sure that they will upend the federal gov't completely by 2016 in hopes they can find a "final solution" to the demography problem they're facing.

    December 5, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  15. Laurie

    Arizona will go Democrat due to the antics of our Governor Brewer, the clowns in the state legislature and our "stellar" representation by Senators Kyl & McCain. Our bright ray of sunshine provided by Gabby Giffords is so sorely missed here.
    Yes, Arizona can go Democrat if they don't take away too many more people's right to vote.

    December 5, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  16. ObamaJoe

    God bless America.

    God bless President Obama.

    December 5, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  17. The Left Wing

    Too late for you, John. Just imagine if you'd stayed true to the John McCain of 2000 instead of flip-flopping on every issue in order to become a right wing nut. If you hadn't done that and picked Palin, you could have won a general election. Of course, you may never have gotten the nomination. Do you think the modern Republican Party / Tea Party is destroying people like you? This year, a year in which the President is weak, should be a landslide for the Republicans. But because the current crop of candidates is either following your example (Gingrich, Romney, Perry), are true wing nuts (Bachmann, Cain, Santorum), has their own but sometimes strange ideas (Paul) or won't play the game (Huntsman), the Republicans will as likely as not lose the general election.

    December 5, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  18. AZ Dem

    Of course AZ is up for grabs it was close for McCain in 08 and there are many Democratic supports who have moved to the state since then...if Mitt is the nominee AZ is definitely in play

    December 5, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  19. AlaskaPalin

    One went into shock when one heard mccain utter those words. It was an indirect endorsement of obama. He energized the liberals; who must have shouted with glee. One wonders what is mccains political agenda. Quite disheartening to say the least. The rule of thumb is – if during an election season one cannot high light the negative facts while at the same time dissectiing so as to diminish the positives about the democrat candidate; one should keep ones mouth shut.

    December 5, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  20. Marie MD

    Oh goodie, let's listen to the one who set forth the she devil upon the world! Go away.

    December 5, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  21. BeverlyNC

    It;s no surprise to those of us who stay in tune with the political arena every day. Republicans have been destroyuing our country, stomping on the People, make racist and discriminatory comments about Hispanics, and basically just want the poor to die. They could care less if anyone has a job and call the jobless "lazy'. Republicans have obstructed every single jobs, economic recovery, or program biill to help the real people who are the back bone of our nation. Republicans have betrayed our country, betrayed the People, betrayed their oath to serve us – and serve greedy corrupt corporations or whoever pays them the highest price. Do you not see the protests against the ruthless Republican governors in WI, OH, MI, FL, IN who have destroyed their education system to give more tax breaks to corporations? have you not seen the voter suppression laws to keep the poor, the minorities, the students, from being able to vote? Have you not heard the lunatics the Republicans are trying to pass off as credible to run for the Presidency? Not one is a leader. Not one has a single idea for any issue or than to keep destroying our country. Republicans have a 8% approval rating in the House! They are do-nothing liars. Look at all President Obama has accomplished despite Republican hatred, slander and obstruction. Who needs Republicans who do nothing but make our lives worse? Think how much better America would be off with NONE in office to block all attempts to restore our country! McCain is dead on. Republicans are going to lose BIG all over America and they should. Make sure you get out and vote in 2012. NO Republicans in ANY local, state, or national seat. The more Democrats we have, the faster the jobs, the people programs, and recovery will happen. They have never stopped figihting fo us. President Obama is the People's President and he has none of the garbage in his past these Republicans all do. He is a good and decent man with true family values – a Christian who acts like one rather than just tells people he is, and has had incredible foreign policy successes and worked hard on jobs from the beginning. They may not be where we want them but the numbers have been positive every month vs the loss of 850K a month under Bush. Look at the facts. Look at reality. Republicans LIE because they are DESPERATE...and McCain just told you why. They know they are going to be beaten in a landslide for betraying the nation. Stand up for President Obama and the Democrats. They are working for YOU.

    December 5, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  22. Coach Lew

    Wow, you sure don't have to be a Rocket Scientist to figure that out now do you? Obama wants the Mexican and or Illegal vote whether they are legal or illegal so what does that tell most of us that have a brain? It tells me he doesn't care if the Drug Lords come into the U.S. and he is not raising a finger to prevent it from happening, why, VOTES. I remember Arizona as a beautiful, safe, friendly place to live. I lived there for 12 years and took trips with my family down to Nogales to buy gifts and to have fun in general. Now you can't even drive past Tuscon unless you have a military or police escort. Phoenix and Chandler are slowly being taken over and the Governor's hands are tied as to what she can do or provide. You can buy a home in Phoenix or metro area for almost nothing $10,000 – $30,000 for a home that once cost $200,000. That is a disaster for all of the communities. May God Protect Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. These three states could fall to illegals and be taken over before you can say your name and then what? REVOLUTION!!!!

    December 5, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  23. Tex71

    In further statements, McCain also expressed confidence that Nixon would take the election by a landslide, blasting Democrats for their disorganized campaign in which the clear frontrunner has been suddenly replaced by "this guy Obama, who came out of nowhere and supplanted Kennedy".

    December 5, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  24. ThinkAgain

    “we need so secure our borders, if for drugs alone,”

    Two things:
    1) The United States is a huge consumer of illegal drugs, creating the demand.
    2) The vast majority of Hispanics who come into this country do so looking for work to support themselves and their families. If American individuals and companies weren't willing to break the law by hiring them, they wouldn't come.

    You'd think all these free-marketeers would understand these basic supply-and-demand economic principles.

    December 5, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  25. Bertina

    No McCain, the hispanic vote will be huge in your state because of the fear mongering and hate going on by your current representatives and governor.

    December 5, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
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