Senator John McCain, R-Arizona
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN)– Senator John McCain says it was an organized and vocal opposition in his party that kept the immigration bill from going forward last week.
"I think that the Senate works in a way that relatively small numbers can block legislation," the Republican presidential candidate told ABC's George Stephanopoulos in an interview aired Sunday. "But I also think that the - particularly the more conservative anti-immigrant, anti-legislation group were very well backed up by a very vocal group of people that were supporting them."
McCain also responded to criticism from former House speaker Newt Gingrich. Gingrich suggested last week that McCain's support for the immigration bill, and earlier support for campaign finance reform, would be an even higher hurdle to clear in primary battles than for Rudy Giuliani and his support for abortion rights. "But on the issue of immigration reform, he may be right, for all I know," he said in response to Gingrich. "But I went there to do the hard things. I went there to do something. The easiest thing for me to do is go there and say no to things," referencing his time in Washington. "And from time to time, it may not be agreeable, but it's what the people of Arizona sent me there to do , and I'm proud and happy to do it."
When asked by Stephanopoulos how he would like history to judge him, McCain said as, "A person who served his country."
McCain was scheduled to be in California on Sunday to attend fundraisers.
- CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford