June 22nd, 2008
10:45 AM ET
13 years ago

Analysis: McCain's uphill battle on illegal immigration

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/06/21/mccain.hispanics/art.mccainbash.cnn.jpg caption="Sen. John McCain's accused of flip-flopping on immigration policy."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In recent days, Sen. Barack Obama has backed off his harshest criticisms of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and he's changed his stance on campaign financing, electing to decline the federal funds for the general election - prompting charges of flip-flopping.

Obama's campaign says Sen. John McCain has contradictions of his own, namely on illegal immigration.

On Wednesday night, McCain held a private meeting with more than 150 Chicago, Illinois-area Hispanic leaders.

According to The Associated Press, several people who were at the meeting said McCain assured them that he would push for comprehensive immigration reform if he's elected president.

In 2007, McCain's sponsorship of comprehensive immigration reform angered conservatives and very nearly derailed his presidential campaign.

At a Republican debate at the Reagan Library in January, McCain was asked whether he would still vote for his original measure.

"No, I would not ... because we know what the situation is today ... that people want the borders secured first," he said.

McCain's critics were reassured.

"The original proposal, I opposed. Sen. McCain's new proposal, I support, which is to ensure you have border security before you have any other type of reform," L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich said.

After the Chicago meeting, the Obama campaign's communications director, Robert Gibbs, charged that McCain was trying to have it both ways.

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Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Phil, FL

    McCain lies thru his teeth depending on which special interest group he is talking to.

    Thank God other journalists tell the WHOLE TRUTH.

    June 22, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. E. C., Houston, Texas

    Senator McCain must re-evaluate his support of Amnesty for Illegal Aliens. There is a Federal Law that prohibits Illegal Aliens from staying in this country and supports deportation. That these people have been crooked enough to live here for years, undetected, means absolutely NOTHING. Further, there should be a Federal Law that prohibits an Illegal Alien from giving birth on American Soil and being allowed to stay, because of a new American Citizen. This Law is STUPID, and it should be changed. If McCain wants Change....start here! All this ridiculous Law creates is more dependency on the Federal Government and Taxpayers to feed, provide free health care, education and housing. THIS HAS GOT TO STOP NOW!!!!!

    June 22, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. Franky

    Well, well...........all of a sudden I changed my mind and is O.K, huh? I'm gonna give some advice to Senator McCain........if there's one thing I know about being a conservative is that you don't always forget....

    June 22, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. Spider

    Barack Obama is a "different" kind of politician. Caring, fair and not "in it just to get elected".

    Read this and tell me if you believe the above.

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/05/29/obamas.first.campaign/index.html

    June 22, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  5. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    From POW to Senator, there's a big gap in John McCain's life and I don't understand why people aren't asking. Obama has given his life history from childhood. John McCain only talks about his POW experience and his 30 something years as a Senator. McCain has never volunteered anything about his life other than his 90 year old mother, something is wrong with this picture.

    June 22, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. randy

    Yes he is big time flip flopper.and it is not even on on news anymore.even his own fellow republicans dont even know where he stand on some issues.

    June 22, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. Texas Trail Dog

    The borders should be secured. This should not be an issue with the Spanish Smericans who can legally vote. The illegals should try to come into the country the legal way. No one in this household has a problem with them being here other than we believe everything should be on a legal status. This is the only way and they need to understand it's not against them but our only security measures of keeping the bad guys out. We don't need them if they're criminals or terrorist. As for McCAIN, Spanish Americans you need to understand he will be the only one who will take your interest to heart. OBAMA will not. He speaks with a forked tongue and will say and do whatever it takes to get into the Oval Office. Don't let it happen to you. HIS SESSIONS WITH THE REV. WRIGHT, REZKO, HIS LIES, AND HIS WIFES REMARKS OF NOT BEING PROUD OF AMERICAN UNTIL NOW OUGHT TO TELL YOU SOMETHING. SINCE WHEN HAS BLACKS EVER HELPED YOU SPANISH AMERICANS. YOU NEED TO ASK SOME HARD QUESTIONS. WHO HAS MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR YOUR CHILDREN TO BE EDUCATED? WHO HAS TO FEED AND PROVIDE MEDICAL AID TO YOUR PEOPLE? IT CERTAINLY WAS NOT THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY.

    June 22, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  8. Jan From Boca Raton, Fl.

    Obama is the biggest Flip Flopper in history, plus he lies about
    everything and everything that suits him at the time.

    June 22, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  9. independent

    if mccain becomes president,immigrants will be rounded up like german jews were ,in the mid-20th century.latinos do all the work,pay taxes and social security,but,recieve none of the benifits."bring me your tired your weary,........." maybe we should sell the statue of liberty,for scrap copper.

    June 22, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  10. Neutral

    McCain might as well wear some flip flops when he campaigns.. he flip-flops too much. It is as clear as day that he doesn't want illegal immigration, he is just telling Hispanics whatever they want to hear to get votes. I think McCain would be better respected if he stood by something solid and stopped dancing all over the place. I don't like childish unsults I have seen about him but can one blame those sometimes harsh and uncalled for statements? He doesn't seem to know what he is doing, what the current political climate calls for or what in the hell he is doing!

    June 22, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  11. MaryL- Ca

    McCain should consider all people with the issue of Immigration as well as the Hispanic voters. It is important to see all sides of Immigration and the downside of not enforcing Immigration into law. America is long overdue closing the borders and this should not be flip-flop matter just to win votes.

    June 22, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  12. maramara

    Mccain is the flip flopper for the century. Obama may still be hoping for change but I tell you Mccain is Change in itself

    June 22, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  13. GOP flip flops in the public

    how can the GOP maintain any semblence of integrity and unify its party? they'll be flipping and flopping left and right to try to integrate all of the extremes within their party – the only thing they can unify on is xenophobia, anti-nonchristianity, macho-gender-centrism, homophobia and race – of which they'll try to pin everything on Obama and hope it sticks. Let the hypocrisy begin...

    June 22, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  14. seanm

    It seems like you can't even tell what McCain believes in any more. Does he favor amnesty or not? I guess it depends upon the day of the week.

    June 22, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. S. Boatman Warrensburg Mo.

    Will The Real Mccain Please Step Forward!

    June 22, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  16. Charlotte

    Hyperbole on both sides of the fence, (pun intended) neither Obama nor McCain have any idea how to fix the problems facing this country. Kevin, on another post. Loved your post turtle story. May I borrow it? It fits Obama to a tee. I had never heard it before, and find it hillar-ious. I remember the Robin Williams movie where he accidently wins the election. Didn't have the foggest idea what to do. Obama fits that mold, also that movie is where Obama got the, "we are not red states, we are not blue states, we are the United States." I got to admit it has a nice ring to it. Obama, is a POST TURTLE! I will write Hillary Clinton on my ballot in November, watsted or not my conscience will be clear.

    June 22, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  17. linda from South Dakota

    mccain will do anything he can including lies, to get the nomination,, just like bush and his dad did,, then turn around and do what they want,, like the bushes are oil people, so as long as they get the profits from oil, they wont help the americans,, mccain is a follower of bush,, plus maybe alittle more senile,,, mccain has many back issues from his past that arent too kosher,, check out http://www.mccain99.com.. you may be surprized on his millitary backround, ummm

    June 22, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  18. The Blind Lady of Justice

    McCain sells himself as a person, not a politician, who never sways with the wind, and whose willingness to be consistent in the face of pressure is proof of his character.

    Republicans have spent the last four years or so making policy reversals the single most serious political crime in presidential politics. The dreaded “flip-flop” is, according to the GOP, the latest cardinal sin for someone seeking national office.

    If this is a backbone of the Republican party .... McCain doesn't make the cut.

    June 22, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Private meeting with Hispanic leaders???
    Over illegal immigrants????
    WHAT WAS HE THINKING?

    June 22, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  20. Crush Rush

    This is the issue both candidates will never address or really do anything about in an election year, other than pander to minority groups and or slave labor Republicans both of whom want AMNESTY.Most Americans want the border secured and those that want to jump the line to become citizens to go to the back of the line and wait like millions of other folks from around the world are doing that are trying to get in.In my opinion there is nothing worse than a LINE JUMPER,wether its at the movies,store,gas station,parking spot or concert hall etc.

    June 22, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  21. sarah

    y'know it is okay when people think the situation over, realize it has changed, find out what the voters really want and then change their stance. this is not flip-flop it is paying attention to a fluid situation and accomodating changes that need to be made. i think sen. mccain is proving that he is nothing like gw bush by actually listening to the voters and adjusting for this. bush does not listen to anyone except cheney and that is his biggest mistake. obviously mccain is not like bush

    June 22, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  22. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    McJose he will flip on this one too.

    June 22, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  23. susie

    McCain changed his mind on a policy stance. Regarding public finanacing, Obama changed his mind because of that he isn't trustworthy.

    June 22, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  24. Jason

    Obama flip flopped on the fence at the border. In 2006 he voted for it. Now he is against it to win votes with latinos. He said he won't have any border construction also because of enviornmental concerns.

    Obama also is for illegals having drivers licenses. At the debate with Clinton he tried to flip flop and the media didn't go after him for it.

    The person going after McCain was looking for publicity. This lady has in the past made horrible comments about catholics. She has zero credibility if you look at her past statements. This shows the media bias to give her this credibility.

    June 22, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  25. STRAIGHT TALK RHETORIC

    AH- TELL THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR, RUN ON A PLATFORM OF WAR HERO, PROTECTOR OF THE COUNTRY, THEN TURN AROUND AND SELL THE LEGAL CITIZENS OUT FOR SLAVE LABOR, THEN MAKE THE CITIZENS PAY FOR THE SOCIAL, MEDIACL BILLS BECAUSE OF THE ILLEGALS.

    THEN GO SPEAK TO SPECIAL INTREST GROUPS AND TELL THEM YOU WILL FIGHT FOR OPEN BORDERS AND AMNESTY.

    WAR HEROS DON'T SELL OUT THE PEOPLE AND THIER CONSTITUION WHEN THE COME HOME FROM BEING TORTURED IN AN UNCONSTITUIONAL WAR.

    I WOULD TRADE MCAIN FOR ALL OF THE POW'S AND MIA'S WE HAVE LOST DUE TO THESE ILLEGAL WARS. OR MAYBE HE SHOULD RUN FOR PRESIDENTE OF MEXICO, HE LIKES DRUGS RIGHT?

    June 22, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
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