This week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) went on Fox News Latino to discuss immigration, the Latino vote, and the 2012 election with Juan Williams.
He started out strong, discussing how important the Latino vote will be in November and admitting that Republicans have essentially scared Hispanic voters away with their positions on immigration:
…we all know what the answer is, and what the problem is. It’s the issue of immigration. And we have to treat it in a humane fashion, and we have to understand that with any new wave of immigrants that comes to our country, whether it be Irish, or Italian, Poles, whoever it is, Hispanics in America, or Latinos, have an allegiance to the people who are coming and that are still in the country they came from.
But then, he takes a bizarre turn:
WILLIAMS: Well, let’s look at the likely GOP nominee stance. Mitt Romney, on immigration reform, opposes the Dream Act, opposes Pathways to Citizenship. In fact, he’s calling for self-deportation. He opposes guest worker programs, opposes tuition breaks for undocumented kids who are in the United States. Why would Hispanics vote for that candidate?
McCAIN: Well, first of all, as you described Mitt Romney is not the case in all due respect. He is solidly in favor of immigration reform. He knows that there are twelve million people who are in this country illegally. He knows you have to address it.
Mitt Romney? Solidly in favor of immigration reform? The same Mitt Romney who promised he would veto the DREAM Act, enlisted Kris Kobach as an immigration advisor, promoted self-deportation, and called Arizona’s SB 1070 anti-immigrant law a “model” for the nation? The one who’s campaign web site says he will take “a strong stand against illegal immigration,” and oppose “all ‘magnets’ that entice illegal immigrants to come to our country illegally and stay here”—like in-state tuition and driver’s licenses.
Hmmm. If McCain really thinks that adds up to a position “solidly in favor of immigration reform,” we now understand why Bettina Inclan was confused.
Mitt Romney may try to pivot back to the center for the general election, of course, and attempt to disown his past positions on immigration in an attempt to court the Latino vote. But it would take a 180 degree reversal from his current stance. Romney can flip-flop all he likes, but he should know better than to believe that Latino voters will buy it.
Read the rest of McCain’s interview with Fox News Latino here.