CNN's Bash noted McCain said he'd oppose his own immigration bill -- but not his remark days earlier that as president, he'd sign it into law

››› ››› RYAN CHIACHIERE

On American Morning, Dana Bash asserted that Sen. John McCain made "a concession" to "conservatives" on the issue of "illegal immigration" during CNN's January 30 Republican presidential debate, when McCain said he would not, in Bash's words, "vote for his own legislation allowing citizenship" for undocumented immigrants if it came to a vote on the Senate floor. But Bash failed to note that just days earlier on Meet the Press, McCain had said he would sign that very legislation into law.

On the January 31 edition of CNN's American Morning, congressional correspondent Dana Bash asserted that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) made "a concession" to "conservatives" on the issue of "illegal immigration" during CNN's January 30 Republican presidential debate, when McCain said he would not, in Bash's words, "vote for his own legislation allowing citizenship" for undocumented immigrants if it came to a vote on the Senate floor. But Bash failed to note that just days earlier, McCain had said he would sign that very legislation into law if he were elected president.

From Bash's report on the January 31 edition of CNN's American Morning:

BASH: But on one huge McCain weak spot with conservatives, illegal immigration, a concession. When asked if he would vote for his own legislation allowing citizenship --

McCAIN: No, I would not, because we know what the situation is today. The people want the borders secured first.

BASH: And more than once, a stern reminder from [former Arkansas Gov.] Mike Huckabee it's not a two-man race.

McCain's assertion that he "would not" vote for his own comprehensive immigration bill came during the January 30 CNN debate, when he was asked by Los Angeles Times staff writer Janet Hook, "At this point, if your original proposal came to a vote on the Senate floor, would you vote for it?" As Bash noted, McCain responded: "No, I would not, because we know what the situation is today. The people want the borders secured first." Yet on the January 27 edition of NBC's Meet the Press, host Tim Russert asked McCain, "If the Senate passed your bill, S.1433, the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill, would you, as president, sign it?" McCain responded, "Yeah, but we -- look, the lesson is, it isn't won. It isn't going to come."

Additionally, CNN's transcription of the January 30 debate and a January 31 Associated Press article misquoted McCain as saying of the bill, "[I]t would not" come to a vote, rather than "I would not" vote for it. From CNN's transcription of the debate:

HOOK: What I'm wondering is -- and you seem to be downplaying that part. At this point, if your original proposal came to a vote on the Senate floor, would you vote for it?

MCCAIN: It won't. It won't. That's why we went through the debate...

HOOK: But if it did?

MCCAIN: No, it would not, because we know what the situation is today. The people want the border secured first. And so to say that that would come to the floor of the Senate -- it won't. We went through various amendments which prevented that ever -- that proposal.

From the AP:

Arizona Senator John McCain:

On whether his 2006 immigration proposal could come to a vote in the Senate today: "No, it would not, because we know what the situation is today. The people want the border secured first."

Previously, Media Matters for America has noted instances in which the media -- including CNN -- have understated the extent to which McCain has reversed his positions on immigration. Media Matters has also noted Bash's uncritical reporting of McCain's attack on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for having "flip-flopped on every issue" without noting McCain's admitted "shift" from espousing comprehensive reform to abandoning a path to citizenship until after the borders are secured.

From the January 27 edition of NBC's Meet the Press:

RUSSERT: If the Senate passed your bill, S.1433, the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill, would you, as president, sign it?

McCAIN: Yeah, but we -- look, the lesson is, it isn't won. It isn't going to come. It isn't going to come. The lesson is they want the borders secured first. That's the lesson. I come from a border state. I know how to fix those borders with walls, with UAVs, with sensors, with cameras, with vehicle barriers. They want the borders secured first -- and I will do that. And, as president, I will have the border-state governors secure -- certify those borders are secured.

From the January 30 Republican presidential debate:

HOOK: Yes. Senator McCain, let me just take the issue to you, because you obviously have been very involved in it. During this campaign, you, like your rivals, have been putting the first priority, heaviest emphasis on border security. But your original immigration proposal back in 2006 was much broader and included a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who are already here.

What I'm wondering is -- and you seem to be downplaying that part. At this point, if your original proposal came to a vote on the Senate floor, would you vote for it?

McCAIN: It won't. It won't. That's why we went through the debate --

HOOK: I know, but what if it did?

McCAIN: No, I would not, because we know what the situation is today. The people want the borders secured first. And so to say that that would come to the floor of the Senate -- it won't. We went through various amendments which prevented that ever -- that proposal.

But, look, we're all in agreement as to what we need to do. Everybody knows it. We can fight some more about it, about who wanted this or who wanted that. But the fact is, we all know the American people want the borders secured first.

Posted In
Immigration
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Dana Bash
Show/Publication
American Morning
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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