Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who championed immigration reform years ago, is trying to reap a financial windfall out of the news. The Houston Chronicle reported yesterday that McCain’s Senate re-election finance chairman, Jason LaVecke, is planning a fundraiser for McCain after hearing about Obama’s interest in the topic. “My first mission is to raise enough money early to keep challengers out of (McCain’s) race,” LeVecke said:
Thursday morning the New York Times ran a front-page story announcing that the Obama administration would begin working on comprehensive immigration reform this year. By Thursday afternoon hundreds of Houston business leaders received e-mails urging them to join the effort — by bringing their checkbooks to a May 4 fundraiser here for Sen. John McCain.
The pitch ought to work. The Houston business establishment, led by the Greater Houston Partnership, is firmly on record for comprehensive immigration reform. The Houston economy is heavily dependent on immigrant labor, legal and illegal.
But when McCain thought Obama wasn’t taking the lead on immigration, he lashed out at the Hispanic community for voting for Obama. National Journal reported earlier this month McCain derogatorily referred to a group of Latinos as “you people.” “My hands were shaking,” one source at the event said. “I was nervous as no-end”:
McCain’s message was obvious, the source continued: After bucking his party on immigration, he had no sympathy for Hispanics who are dissatisfied with President Obama’s pace on the issue. “He threw out [the words] ‘You people — you people made your choice. You made your choice during the election,’ ” the source said. “It was almost as if [he was saying] ‘You’re cut off!”
McCain seems to be repositioning himself on immigration, or at least trying to. LeVecke said that he and McCain had “spoken about working with Senator (John) Cornyn to take leadership with regard to immigration reform.” In 2007, McCain told Cornyn, “F*ck you, John‘” when Cornyn criticized McCain for being absent from the immigration debate.
Of course, changing his tune on immigration is nothing new for McCain. During the Republican primary last year, McCain said he wouldn’t vote for his own immigration bill and repeatedly touted “securing the borders” before comprehensive reform. He then walked the fine line of criticizing undocumented immigration while supporting reform during the general election. (HT: Briefing Room)