June 12th, 2007
06:01 PM ET
9 years ago

Sessions backs off 'back off' comment

Watch Sen. Sessions say Bush should 'back off' the immigration bill.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions toned down his earlier comments Tuesday urging President Bush to "back off" from pressuring GOP senators to support his immigration bill.

"I said we ought to back off and look at this thing carefully and analytically, because just passing a bill is not the solution to our problems," Sessions told CNN's T.J. Harris after the president made a visit to Capitol Hill to promote the controversial immigration proposal. "If the president is not committed to actual, aggressive enforcement and we don't have a bill that will work, we haven't done anything."

Sessions’ language toward the president was considerably stronger earlier Tuesday in an interview on CNN's American Morning, when he said, “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.”

Sessions also told CNN the president was "very gracious" during his meeting with GOP senators Tuesday afternoon, even with those who adamantly oppose the immigration measure.

"He said his friendship was not changed by someone that disagreed with him on this issue," Sessions said. "He expressed in heartfelt terms why he wants to see us be a nation of immigrants and have a good system that will work."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Immigration
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