Thursday, June 28, 2007

McCain Campaign Falters Over Immigration

John McCain's presidential campaign is facing political damage over the senator's staunch support for the Bush administration's immigration reform plan. The Washington Post has the story:
Once seen as the inevitable Republican presidential front-runner, McCain is sinking in the polls, particularly in the all-important early-primary states. On conservative talk radio, he is lumped together with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and derided endlessly. His stance on immigration is making life ever more difficult for his fundraisers. He is expected to again lag behind rivals in money raised when the quarter ends on Saturday.

McCain's staff has sought to make a virtue of what appears to be an anchor on his political fortunes. In an e-mail to supporters on Monday, campaign manager Terry Nelson said that McCain "is running for president not to do what is easy. He is running to do the hard but necessary things to protect our country from harm and to fix the challenges that we face as a nation now, not later."

The next day, McCain canceled some critical fundraising events to participate in a key vote on the bill. And he is isolated on the front lines of the country's debate over illegal immigration -- alone among Republican presidential candidates, the rest of whom oppose the overhaul of the nation's border-control laws.

It is a particularly difficult predicament for a Republican candidate looking for votes in Iowa and South Carolina, two states with early presidential contests next year. In both states, anger over the bill -- and McCain's backing of it -- runs deep.

"Iowa being quite conservative, very conservative, I think there are some who just want to get rid of [illegal immigrants], send them back, put up a double wall," said Nelson P. Crabb, the mayor of Clear Lake and a McCain supporter. "That's impractical. But I think the general feeling of people here in Iowa is 'Gee, they shouldn't be here.' "
Michelle Malkin says it's "Goodbye, John McCain," linking to a Times of London article that reports that McCain may drop out of the presidential race by September.

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