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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

McCain the real hero of immigration reform, Diaz-Balart says

U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart wants you to know: It wasn’t Democrat Barack Obama who was backing the comprehensive immigration reform bill that tanked last year, it was Republican Sen. John McCain.

“I as a House member was intimately involved in many of the meetings where Sen. McCain was leading the effort to get comprehensive reform passed,” Diaz-Balart, R-Miami, said in a conference call organized by the McCain campaign. “And Sen. Obama was consistently and absolutely AWOL, nowhere to be seen, in any of the meetings that we had on this issue of immigration.

"It is absurd for him now to take credit for that legislation… He was absolutely a non-player.”

McCain, of course has been trying to reverse the damage done to himself among many conservative voters by pushing that immigration bill, which called for securing the borders but also sought a route to legal status for millions of illegal immigrants.

But that bill is a big reason why McCain, not Obama, will do better among Hispanics come November, Diaz-Balart said.

McCain and Obama both spoke to the League of United Latin American Citizens in Washington Tuesday, and both addressed the need for immigration reform. Obama said he “reached across the aisle in the Senate” to fight for it.

Diaz-Balart, who is facing a tough reelection contest from former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez, said Obama will also suffer for his opposition to the Columbia free trade agreement.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 11:27am]


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