Report: McCain calls for comprehensive immigration reform at private meeting with Hispanic Republicans? Update: In newspaper interview, too?

posted at 12:57 pm on June 20, 2008 by Allahpundit

Exercise caution. There’s only one source, she’s a member of the Minutemen and thus perhaps inclined to look too skeptically at what Maverick says on this subject, and this wouldn’t be the first time in the past few days where the media’s exaggerated something he said at a town hall. Even so, we got a bunch of e-mails this morning about the AP wire report on last night’s “private meeting” in Chicago showcasing this quote from attendee Rosanna Pulido:

“He’s one John McCain in front of white Republicans. And he’s a different John McCain in front of Hispanics,” complained Rosanna Pulido, a Hispanic and conservative Republican who attended the meeting.

Pulido, who heads the Illinois Minuteman Project, which advocates for restrictive immigration laws, said she thought McCain was “pandering to the crowd” by emphasizing immigration reform in his 15-minute speech.

Jake Tapper must have gotten some e-mails too because he called her this morning to follow-up. Quote:

[S]he went to the meeting, a room full of 150-200 people. “Sure enough,” Pulido says, “his mantra at the meeting was comprehensive immigration reform.’ And there were cheers and applause whenever he mentioned comprehensive immigration reform.”

“Then he said, ‘I bet some of you don’t know this — did you know Spanish was spoken in Arizona before English?’ And the crowd roared. I was appalled,” Pulido said. “He was pandering to these people — that’s what they wanted to hear.”…

“He was telling one group of people one thing and the Hispanics another,” says Pulido. “I’m a conservative and I think he’s throwing conservatives under the bus.”…

What she saw of John McCain Wednesday night … makes her inclined right now to support Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin.

People are going to go nuts over the bit about Arizonans speaking Spanish before they spoke English but I suspect that was probably more of a feeble stab at “there’s more that unites us than divides us” than at the sort of promotion of cultural balkanization by government leaders that worries so many voters. Exit question: What really happened? Captain Straight Talk wouldn’t lie about a subject like this, would he? Stay tuned, because believe it or not, Team Barry’s going to go after him on it in a conference call this afternoon.

Update: The conference call is in progress and the charge of Hispandering, if I may borrow Kaus’s term, has been laid.

Update: The boss forwards this translation of an article in Diario Libre about his meeting with the editors of a Hispanic newspaper in L.A.:

New York – The Republican candidate for the White House, Senator John McCain, promised that if he wins, a day after he is sworn in as a new president of the United States, he will pressure Congress to enact a law immediately in favor of immigration reform.

The candidate that appears today eight points behind his Democrat rival Barack Obama, did the pronouncement in an interview that he granted to the Hispanic newspaper La Opinion in Los Angeles…

McCain said that it is completely false that [he] has abandoned his original commitment to fight for reform for the more than 12 million undocumented immigrants that reside in the United States and that includes the failed proposal of President Bush, to secure the borders first.

“This reform will be a priority in my administration because it is a convincing federal responsibility”, added the contender of the Republican Party. “We will undertake immigration reform and on the day after my inauguration, I will ask Congress to reconsider it, although I believe that first we have to secure our borders, set in motion a plan for guest workers that works and to focus on the issue of the undocumented in a humane and compassionate way.”

I’m mildly comforted by his willingness to tell them we need to secure the border first. Did he say that last night, too?


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