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Inside McCain’s closed-door meeting with Chicago Hispanics

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By Michelle Malkin  •  June 19, 2008 09:02 PM

Scroll down for updates…Rosanna Pulido of the anti-amnesty group, “You Don’t Speak for Me:” “He’s one John McCain in front of white Republicans. And he’s a different John McCain in front of Hispanics.”

Last night, John McCain met with a carefully screened group of Chicago-area Latino voters. The town hall was closed to the media. Several readers e-mailed an eyewitness account of the event. Here’s an excerpt:

I was one of the 150 people at the Drake Hotel in Downtown Chicago Wednesday night who came to hear John MC Cain speak to Illinois Hispanics.

I had e-mail in my request to attend after seeing an article in the news paper announcing this event.

This is what i received……….

We are pleased to confirm your invitation to attend the “Hispanic Voices Reception” with Republican Presidential candidate John McCain. The event will take place on June 18, 2008, at The Drake Hotel, 140 E. Walton Place, Chicago, Illinois, in the Drake Room.

A volunteer will call you in the next couple of days to give you a “unique event ID number.” You will need that number along with photo identification at the registration table in order to access the event. Doors open for the event promptly at 7:30 PM. Please come early, though, to get through security.

During the reception, Senator John McCain will be fielding questions from the audience. We ask that you be respectful during the question-and-answer session even if your opinions differ from those being shared. Please dress in business-casual attire.

You may park at The Drake Hotel for $30; valet parking is also provided at the hotel for $45. If you are traveling from the suburbs, limited seating is available on the bus leaving from Aurora. To reserve a seat for the bus, please contact us on our hotline number or by e-mail. For your own directions to the event, please click here.

For questions regarding the event, please call our hotline number at 630-801-0043 or e-mail us at McVolunteers@yahoo.com.

Both Senator John McCain and I look forward to meeting you next Wednesday.

Face to Face with John McCain!

“Hispanic Voices Reception”

Wednesday, June 18, 2008, starting at 7:30 PM

The Drake Room The Drake Hotel 140 E Walton Place Chicago, IL 60611

You are invited to hear John McCain address Illinois Hispanics!

If you have any questions, please contact: Gabriela Wyatt or Julie Brady at McVolunteers@yahoo.com Or call the event hot-line (630) 801-0043 _________________________________________________________

…..Personally as an Original Minuteman who attended the Historic Minuteman Border Watch in 2005 on the Arizona/ Mexico border and returni[n]g 2 more times for a tour of duty along our southern Border, I was especially looking forward to what John Mc Cain would say about illegal immigration.

This was a NO MEDIA ALLOWED EVENT! That is why I am reporting back to you, all of you folks who have fought so hard with your phone calls to Washington D.C. last summer, shutting down the Washington DC switch board and defeating the AMNESTY BILL. I am reporting back to you those of you who work tirelessly in your local cities and towns trying to get some public elected official to care and enforce the rule of law.

I was told by my friend and fellow Hispanic Marianne Davies who is on the board of “You Don’t Speak for Me” that John Mc Cain has been going across the country having “PRIVATE” meetings with Hispanics.

Although the [invitation] said we would be able to ask questions, that “question ” time with John McCain never happened. That was ok with me, I never had the intention of asking a question, I knew exactly the kind of open borders crowd I was with.

John McCain’s favorite words of the evening were Comprehensive Immigration Reform. But he started out first of all saying if he is gonna win the Presidential election he will need the support of the Latino community.

He said ” My state has been enriched by the Hispanic culture in Arizona.”

Then John McCain asked a question “Did you know this? I bet some of you did not know that Spanish was spoken in Arizona before English” …Loud cheers from the audience. (Ok John McCain What is your AZTLAN POINT?)

Then he said “I want to have some straight talk about our relationship with Mexico,our closest neighbor and dearest friend” He talked about the Mexican President fighting the drug cartels.

Then John McCain aid the exact thing I came to hear, he said “I was proud to work for Comprehensive Immigration Reform and If I am elected President I assure you that in 2009 I will ask Congress to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform.” (The crowd goes wild) “It is a Federal Responsibility” he said and continued ” we also need a temporary guest worker program”

He then told a story about a day laborer who got picked up this morning, worked all day and then never got paid…We have no Federal Policy, we cannot allow this to happen, he said, He repeated I assure you that I will work for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

John McCain talked about a debate he was in about enforcing the law and he says that the “other side had a lot of “Rhetoric” “you know what I am talking about!” he said…

Yeah, we know what he’s talking about. All too well.


(Image credit: People’s Cube)

***

Related: Tipster Edgar M. sends an English translation of an article from Diario Libre touting McCain’s promise to renew his shamnesty push for the “undocumented:”

New York – The Republican candidate for the White House, Senator John McCain, promised that if he wins, a day after he is sworn in as a new president of the United States, he will pressure Congress to enact a law immediately in favor of immigration reform.

The candidate that appears today eight points behind his Democrat rival Barack Obama, did the pronouncement in an interview that he granted to the Hispanic newspaper La Opinion in Los Angeles…

McCain said that it is completely false that [he] has abandoned his original commitment to fight for reform for the more than 12 million undocumented immigrants that reside in the United States and that includes the failed proposal of President Bush, to secure the borders first.

“This reform will be a priority in my administration because it is a convincing federal responsibility”, added the contender of the Republican Party. “We will undertake immigration reform and on the day after my inauguration, I will ask Congress to reconsider it, although I believe that first we have to secure our borders, set in motion a plan for guest workers that works and to focus on the issue of the undocumented in a humane and compassionate way.”

***

Related: Ed Morrissey’s liveblogging McCain’s townhall in St. Paul, Minn. Looks like immigration received only the most superficial treatment.

***

Update: I’ve suggested before that McCain meet with the anti-illegal immigration Hispanic group, “You Don’t Speak for Me.” Rosanna Pulido is a member of the group. She speaks for me.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain assured Hispanic leaders he would push through Congress legislation to overhaul federal immigration laws if elected, several people who attended a private meeting with the candidate said Thursday.

Democrats questioned why the Arizona senator held the meeting late Wednesday night in Chicago. But supporters who were in the room denied that McCain held the closed-door session out of fear of offending conservatives, many of whom want him to take a harder line on immigration.

Both McCain and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama support giving legal status to millions of illegal immigrants, but neither has made the issue a centerpiece of the campaign. At one time, McCain’s campaign suffered because of his stance on the issue.

“This was not a secret meeting,” said Rafael Rivadeneira, a vice chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Illinois, who was among more than 150 Chicago-area Hispanic leaders who attended. “There was nothing he said that they wouldn’t want people to hear.”

Other attendees said they were not so sure.

“He’s one John McCain in front of white Republicans. And he’s a different John McCain in front of Hispanics,” complained Rosanna Pulido, a Hispanic and conservative Republican who attended the meeting.

Pulido, who heads the Illinois Minuteman Project, which advocates for restrictive immigration laws, said she thought McCain was “pandering to the crowd” by emphasizing immigration reform in his speech.

“He’s having his private meetings to rally Hispanics and to tell them what they want to hear,” she said. “I’m outraged that he would reach out to me as a Hispanic but not as a conservative.”

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