Yeah, funny thing: He was actually confronted once before about Juan Hernandez, at a campaign stop in Florida, and promised to look into the good doctor’s musings about illegal immigration then, too. “I have no idea but I will check in to the information you’ve given me,” he told the questioner, after giving him a paint-by-numbers Hagee-ish defense about how the people associated with the campaign support McCain’s ideas and not vice versa. Sounds like he either hasn’t gotten around to checking yet or that promise was just another statement on immigration during the primaries that we weren’t really supposed to take seriously, because here’s what he told Matt Lewis today:

MATT LEWIS: Can I ask you about Juan Hernandez, not so much about Townhall where I write, but a lot of conservative bloggers have a lot to say about him… You never know what is accurate, but from what I read he has some very controversial things to say…about Mexico first, about essentially having a completely open border….Are we getting misinformation? or What is the disconnect there? Why are you taking advice from someone if he has made these outlandish comments?

SEN. McCAIN: First of all, I take advice from many many people. I don’t always agree with that advice. I’m not sure that if he has a view, that he and I are in disagreement about..which I’m sure he does… I know very few people in this country, or in this world, that I agree with everything on… There’s a difference between disagreement, if we have disagreement, and things that American’s just find not acceptable…..

MATT LEWIS: …Couldn’t you make that argument for Rev. Wright or….?

SEN. McCAIN: I would be glad to examine any statement from any supporter of mine…I don’t even know if he is quote or what he has specifically…I’ll be glad to look at it… I’ll be glad to look at anything anybody has said that may be offensive or wrong. But I may have disagreements with an issue with lots of people…and if we have strong enough disagreements, I will ask them to withdraw their support. And that is what has guided me….and that is all I have to say about it.

Good enough. You can revisit some of Hernandez’s greatest hits here; my personal favorite is his fond hope that even seventh-generation descendants of illegals in America will think “Mexico first.” Are we to understand from the boldface part that if McCain’s made aware of stuff like this and still refuses to dump Hernandez that he simply doesn’t disagree all that strongly with the sentiment?

Follow the link to Lewis and see how Maverick fielded a question from Quin Hillyer about some of the more repulsive rhetoric he’s used over the years to demonize his opponents on immigration. Yes, it’s true, there’s no record of him ever using the actual words “Jim Crow”; watch this clip and see if you think it matters. May 25, 2006: