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. Bishop

    More WORD games by the Republicans...

    June 22, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  2. FactCheck

    And an uphill battle on NAFTA, the economy, the energy crisis, the housing crisis and just about anything that would be of relevance to anyone by those earning more than $250,000/year.

    June 22, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  3. Crush Rush

    And next week he will give up and just say"I changed my mind again and will allow everyone to come in including evil doers,because Cheney told me to".

    June 22, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. Mike

    It does not matter what side of an issue that mcBush is on today. Because tommorow he will flip over to the other side. McCain is worse than Kerry when it comes to flip flopping.

    June 22, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  5. David Goldman for OBAMA

    THE SENILE GREEDY OLD BIGOT IS ONLY

    CONSISTENT POLICIES, WITH A FEW POLICIES.

    WAR MUST GO ON FOR ANOTHER 100 YEARS

    BOMB, BOMB, BOMB, & THEN BOMB SOME MORE.

    SPEND AS LITTLE TO NO MONEY ON AMERICAN TAX

    PAYERS, INCLUDING OUR CHILDREN,WOMEN & VETS,

    NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE.

    SPENDING A BILLION A DAY IN IRAQ IS OK.

    ANYONE EVEN CONSIDERING VOTING FOR HIM

    NEEDS THEIR HEAD EXAMINES.

    June 22, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. 58 old white ladies for OBAMA

    THE SENILE OLD FOOL CHANGES HIS DEMENTED

    IGNORANT SMALL MIND EVERY TIME HE GETS A NEW

    LOBBYIST WITH A DIFFERENT AGENDA. HE HAS

    NEVER SHOWN ANY CONCERN ABOUT ANYONE

    GROUP OF US, INCLUDING OUR VETS.

    June 22, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  7. Roger

    I agree with McCain. Both ways is good for Americans. We need to secure the borders. We also need to get these illegal immigrants legal or stop letting them take all of our jobs and our benefits. I'm married to someone from another country and she is now a U.S. Citizen (she came here as a student).

    June 22, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. drop McCain

    what was that awful noise i just heard....oh, another flip flop

    June 22, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  9. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA

    ALL THIS OLD MINDLESS FOOL WANTS

    IS TO TAKE A CRACK AT ANOTHER WAR,

    & THEREBY MAKE HIS LOBBYISTS MORE MONEY.

    HE HAS VOTED DOWN ANY INVESTMENT IN

    AMERICA OR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, EVERY TIME.

    June 22, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  10. Mike Obama

    For the first time in my adult life i am not proud to be an American when a democratic presidential nominee is ashamed to talk or take his full name during presidential campaign. Is this kind of a role model do we need for our kids and our country.

    June 22, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  11. saga for Obama

    Obama doesnt have to mud sling...all he has to do is let Mc Cain keep digging his own grave. ol mccain had a farm ee i ee i oh, with a flip flop here, private jet there a loan from PF, flip on off shore drilling, a flop on taxes, immigrating and supporter of war...ol mc cain had a farm ee i ee i ohhhhhhhh!
    GOP, Obama haters wake up if mc cain gets into office we are all going too buy the farm.

    June 22, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  12. @everyamericans

    McBush needs to tell us where he stands on these issues....you can't eat your cake and have it too, old man

    June 22, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  13. I Used To Be A Democrat

    Obama is definitely a flip-flopper just like John Kerry.

    However, this article does not prove the same of McCain. In fact, McCain's ideas seem way more based in reality than ANYTHING I've heard from Obama.

    June 22, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  14. Peter E

    So... he is being criticized for ADMITING that he changed his mind? It's called learning, people! When new information presented to you contradicts your previous stance you adjust! It's perfectly acceptable. "Staying the course" in the face of new information is the real insanity.
    However, changing one's mind but then pretending that one never changed his mind is called lying! Very much like McCain's flip-flop on taxes, drilling, or Obama's total flip-flop on NAFTA, campaign finance, and a million other things.
    Vote Ron Paul! Change you can TRUST in!

    June 22, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  15. Enlightened Voter

    Let's be honest, the ONLY reason why the repubs and mcwar want immigrants is so they will have cheap labor to work in their companies and factories. No one buys for a second they actually care about these people.

    June 22, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  16. Cynthia

    I see Senator McCain's flip flop on immigration as much more serious than Senator Obama changing his mind about receiving public funding. I think it is great that Senator Obama chose not to take it – he doesn't need it so why use it. If Senator McCain's fundraising capacity has been anywhere near Senator Obama's he would have done the same thing and we all know that. But, the immigration issue – I can't be sure where Senator McCain stands.

    June 22, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. bernice

    SCARY!!

    June 22, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  18. Pat Va

    And he's shown himself to be a racist from time to time. What more could the democrats ask for during this elecction cycle?

    June 22, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  19. ObamaSupporters

    New name for John McCain,
    FlipFlop McBush

    June 22, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  20. karuna bertam

    Have more faith and trust in a man who is willing to change his stance, and I don't mean to a "wide stance", even with the odds of being named "a flip-flopper". It is more honorable and honest to do this rather than to carry on with the same old stubborn stand which is doomed to failure. Explain your reasoning behind your change, perhaps apologize and then move forward! Better to do this than like GW, who has proceeded in the wrong direction for seven years, five years of war so far, destruction of their country, our economy and lives of millions. What a change if he had admitted to being wrong, and changed course four years ago. We would certainly have been much better off, not have wasted thousands of lives, billions of dollars and all for naught. McCain is still living the "old" life, insisting that any change is a flip-flop, whereas he is not able to see that we are being to the brink of disaster, especially if we vote for him.

    June 22, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  21. RONNIE

    The North American Free Trade Agreement should be outlawed on security issues alone.

    June 22, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  22. Phil, FL

    Not even his first flip-flop. And won't be his last.

    Divorced (changed his mind? circumstances changed, wife got fat and became disabled? flip-flopped about promise before God and Man).

    June 22, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  23. H. Thompson

    "My friends," John McCain has got to spend $10 on some over-the-counter tooth whitener. His hair is 10 shades whiter than his teeth, which one sees every time he pulls out his goofy grin that his handlers have told him to flash to the cameras when he has his senior's moments.

    June 22, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  24. Helen, NY

    John McCain's immigration policy is better than what Barack Obama is talking about. Also I am sure independents and reublicans will make sure that John is fair to everybody. I have full trust in him. Vote John McCain.

    June 22, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  25. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    What? A private meeting? Ha, he got yah (the media) again.
    Private just so, no one can record exactly what he said. So by now, he actually has forgotten what he said?

    Poooorrrrr McCain

    Go get um! Obama

    June 22, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
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