McCain La Raza Q&A
by Todd Beeton, Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 01:04:46 PM EDT
At the end of his La Raza speech, John McCain took several questions and he really seemed to win the crowd over. At one point, when it was announced there was no more time for questions, he defiantly told people lined up to ask questions to "go on" and even threw his mic to a guy when it appeared the mics had been shut off. The crowd went nuts. Not, bad, Senator.
Q: "You say you are for comprehensive reform, you also said you want enforcement first. Is this comp reform include 12 million who are already here and will you make reform a top priority as president?"
A: "If it wasn't my top priority, I wouldn't have risked my nomination to fight for it...Not putting the party first, putting my country first...Senator Obama voted for amendments that would have killed the bill, that's a fact, sir...Why did we fail? People remembered that in 1986 that we gave amnesty and said we'd secure the border but we didn't secure the border...If we pass the bill, we need to give Americans confidence that we will secure our borders." Not because the fringe elements in the Republican Party scuttled it, hmm? And again, still no mention of a path to citizenship, which Obama overtly said he supported.
Follow-up from same questioner: "1 bill that provides a pathway to citizenship and legalizes 12 million people?"
A: "If we convince people that we secure the borders." He then went on to change the subject and divert attention to the Mayor of San Diego who was there.
Q: "I am ashamed of these raids that are separating children from parents. As president will you stop these inhumane raids?"
A: "We will. With all due respect, you're talking about a symptom of the problem rather than the problem itself."
Q: "Will you refuse to use immigrant bashing in your campaigns?"
A: "Yes, Ma'am, I will not do that."
Follow-up from the same questioner: "Many of the candidates in your party have not followed your leadership. Will you as leader of your party will instruct your candidates across the country from continuing that?"
A: "Yes, of course and I have denounced it throughout. I want a respectful campaign. People are sick of the sound bytes...and I wish Senator Obama was here on the same stage to tell you himself that he feels the same." Sneaky.
Q: "Will you support humanity all across the world and support The DREAM Act that we are trying to pass?"
A: "Yes. Yes, but I will also enforce the existing laws. That's why we must secure the border..."
Q: "You're supporting the militarization of the border that has killed hundreds of people. Will you commit to stopping the inhumane raids and commit to comprehensive immigration reform?"
A: "We have to secure the borders and you may disagree but I am committed to that and you have my commitment."
Both his speech and his Q&A highlighted the balancing act he's attempting here. Boasting of cooperation with Ted Kennedy he perceives as a net plus but he clearly perceives raising the issue of providing a "pathway to citizenship" as a net negative. He did a good job today but the way he is trying to walk this tightrope is not convincing.
The DNC is having a conference call to address John McCain's remarks today.