For months, John McCain has been renouncing his earlier legislation for comprehensive immigration reform, and — like his opponent Barack Obama — generally avoiding the hot-button topic on the campaign trail. Now, McCain has two new videos aimed at Hispanic and other immigrant voters.
The first is a Spanish-language TV ad that claims that it was really Democrats, including Obama, who sabotaged last year's bipartisan immigration overhaul by voting for 'poison pill' amendments. Immigrant advocates say the McCain ad is misleading; yes, the convoluted bill was drawing fire from the left by the bitter end, but they blame overwhelming Republican opposition for its demise.
The second video will air during tonight's Alma Awards broadcast. The video starts with a gauzy montage of black and white photos of earlier immigrants, and laments that they are too often "objects of fear" instead of "symbols of hope." While giving no details, McCain says he will make immigration a "priority" by addressing it in a way that's "practical and fair."
Why the switch? It's hard to see these ads as much more than grasping at straws given the dismal standing polls give McCain among Latino voters.
On the other hand, maybe 'immigration' isn't quite the dirty word it's been thought to be in politics. NDN (formerly the New Democrat Network) just came out with a poll of voters in the battleground states of Colorado, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico, all with large — though varied — Latino populations. It finds solid support for a 'path to citizenship' for undocumented immigrants, something you'd never guess from hearing most stump speeches over the past year.