Graham and McCain optimistic after White House immigration meeting
February 26th, 2013
05:34 PM ET
7 years ago

Graham and McCain optimistic after White House immigration meeting

(CNN) – Two leading Republican senators voiced optimism Tuesday after a sit-down with President Barack Obama focused primarily on the hot button topic of immigration.

Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain both said the meeting at the White House went well, though didn't delve into what specifically was discussed. Graham, who has opposed Obama on topics ranging from national security to budgets, said it was "one of the best meetings I've ever had with the president."

"I was quite frankly encouraged," Graham told CNN. "I think we'll have presidential leadership in a very productive way on immigration reform."

"I think the president's very sincere in wanting a bill and wants to know what he can do to help," Graham, who represents South Carolina, continued. "I told him the talks were going good, me and Sen. McCain are working well with our colleagues."

McCain, on his way to cast a "no" vote for Obama's nominee to become defense secretary, said the immigration meeting was "excellent."

Asked what else what discussed, the Arizona lawmaker said "a number of issues but immigration was the major topic."

An early backer of comprehensive immigration reform, McCain later backed away from supporting a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants after his position hurt him with GOP primary voters during his run for president in 2008. This year, he's been more vocal in his support of immigration reform measures, including a bipartisan framework proposed last month in the Senate.

That plan includes a pathway to citizenship that hinges on bolstering border security. Asked Tuesday whether he thought the president would sign a bill making border security a condition of a pathway to citizenship, McCain said "You'll have to ask him, but he understands the parameters of what we're doing."

Graham also said he thought Obama "understands that we need border security that we can afford."

In an interview Sunday, McCain explained improving border security and creating a pathway to citizenship were necessary and supported by the American people.

"Just because they broke the law doesn't mean they're condemned forever to a twilight status," he said on CNN's "State of the Union."

"I believe that most Americans feel that for these people who have come illegally, as long as they pay back taxes, pay a fine, learn English and get behind everybody else, that's a key element of it. And most Americans now realize we can't have 11 million people sit in the twilight, the shadows of America, forever."

McCain later said that Republicans won't be punished by conservative primary voters if they back comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

Filed under: Immigration • John McCain • Lindsey Graham • President Obama
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Pete

    Hope McCain,Graham show the same optimism when they get shown the door for the last time..You both deserve the axe and after midterms you'll really feel what the economy is really like on the outside you racist ole idiots!!

    February 26, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. Wake up People!

    Has anyone ever noticed that the members of the GOP are always looking like angry old men? Look at both of their faces.

    February 26, 2013 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  3. jonaty

    Meanwhile Obama opened the flood gates and let thousands of illegals out of their holding cells today for no reason other than the hispanic vote

    February 26, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  4. kayla

    sorry amigo, you still will be punished. latinos para democrats. si se puede.

    February 26, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  5. Evergreen

    Five years later these Senators finally realize that they can work with this President. It's a mircle!

    February 26, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  6. Randy, San Francisco

    Not a fan of Sen Graham but must give him credit for standing up to Tea Partiers and conservative anti-immigration reform groups in his party. He better look over his shoulder because the Tea Party Purity storm troopers are coming for him in 2014.

    February 26, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  7. Neutral Observer

    Yes, they'll retire to their multi-million estates. That'll show em Pete! They so dread life having to drink all those cocktails by that tortuous poolside. They might even have to travel all the way to the carribean when you decide to loot thier business. and then you can cry even harder when you fail.

    February 26, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  8. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    See ,talking to the president is not a sin ,only to the gop base of stupid voters ,they try to black ball christi for looking after his residents and talking to the president after sandy ,just shows why the gop is the party of stupid . Stupid conservatives and stupid voters and romney the tax cheat would have lost anyway ,he sucks and was a failed one term govenor who couldn't even get realected in mass.

    February 26, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  9. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    The gop right wing conservatives don't run this country and are the garbage of American ,soon to be dumped ,2014 mid terms !!!!

    February 26, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  10. Thomas

    That photo sure looks like two optimistic guys !

    February 26, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  11. MesaMax

    Don't trust Obama. He cannot be trusted.

    February 26, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  12. Ian

    No human is illegal! Immigration reform NOW!

    On a separate note, it appears that the GOP has finally realized that demography is destiny and that there simply aren't enough angry old white males to vote other angry old white males into office. And it will only get worse for the GOP. Ouch!

    February 26, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  13. Name J Ro

    McCain. What a disgraceful has been. From maverick to tea bag squeezer. Retire already. No one cares, John. Particularly after you recklessly unleashed Palin on us all. You tarnish your own record. Sad.

    February 26, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  14. Ricardo martinez

    I wish in the same way they were talking about all our economics issues

    February 26, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  15. Woman In California

    Graham, who has opposed Obama on topics ranging from national security to budgets, said it was "one of the best meetings I've ever had with the president."
    Really? This sentence is very sarcastic and racist. While it's very carefully structured, it's still there. Just pay attaention to the intent.

    "I was quite frankly encouraged," Graham told CNN. "I think we'll have presidential leadership in a very productive way on immigration reform."
    Again, more racism. This creep and his girlfriend McCain just can't help but throw a little bit of jour racism into their worthless assessments. Just give it a few days, and they'll both be back to outright nastiness and disrespect. I expect nothing less.

    February 26, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  16. SillyWabbit

    Defeated, dejected clowns. These two (Graham & McCain) have done nothing more than destroy the GOP with their foolish antics. But, they will go down in history for something! Congratulations fellas! I'll bet you succeed in making Obama a one-term president this time around!

    February 26, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  17. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It is nice to hear about some bipartisan agreement. I hope that translates into some action on immigration. Maybe that will snowball into more agreements on other issues. We can only hope.

    February 26, 2013 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  18. Joe

    They all need to be deported!

    February 26, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  19. steven

    This would be the only positive piece of governance coming out of the GOP in 4 years. I believe if the GOP had made a decision to be part of the solution rather than the obstructionist direction they chose, they could have won the 2012 election.

    February 26, 2013 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  20. steven

    Chris, Matthews nailed it with Graham. He said Graham is being chased by the Tea Party in S Carolina and is scared to death. I don't know that to be true but it would explain a lot.

    February 26, 2013 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  21. cbr

    Senator McCain and Sen. Graham are constantly in the news. The questions is why? Sen. McConnell is the minority leader and he is no where to be found. Give the two senators time and they will find something wrong witht he immigration policy and start screaming about that next.

    February 26, 2013 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  22. J.V.Hodgson

    I have absolutely no belief/confidence that whatever the Senate proposes will ever pass the house without amendments that either the Senate would not approve or the President would Veto.

    February 26, 2013 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  23. Larry L

    Both are bitter, bigoted, spiteful obstructionists who are driving the Republican party into oblivion. Each day they try to find something to block progress towards recovery from the recession they caused. Both should be recalled from their positions.

    February 26, 2013 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  24. gop usa

    Rubio, mcCain, They are a disgrace pandering to Mexican illegals.........Deport ,deport,deport......and Rubio the anchor baby can go too

    February 26, 2013 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  25. Frustrated_indian_professional

    When does the spotlight fall on the millions of well educated, tax paying professionals that contribute more to the US economy than a bunch of illegal immigrants and are stuck in the green card queue for years at a stretch? The path to permanent residency needs to paved first for those of us that have spent the money and time to be here...consumerism needs to trickle down to immigration!

    February 26, 2013 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
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