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McCain, Obama Hug it Out

By Shailagh Murray
Sen. John McCain crossed the aisle in the Senate this morning to shake hands with Sen. Barack Obama, just a couple of political foes killing time during a vote-a-rama.

The two candidates spent a few minutes in animated conversation, with McCain doing most of the talking. He spoke forcefully at times, as Obama nodded at his GOP rival, a mild look on his face. When they said their goodbyes, they shook hands again and clasped arms in a modified man hug. The exchange was later recapped by McCain as "a friendly conversation, like you have with colleagues." He declined to provide details.

McCain and Obama have the second and fourth worst Senate attendance records in the 110th Congress, but both showed up today for all seven votes on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The hour-long session gave the two candidates plenty of time to catch up with their colleagues.

Obama invested much of his time with senators who haven't endorsed in the Democratic nomination battle yet, yucking it up with Sens. Ken Salazar (Colo.), Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Ron Wyden (Ore), Barbara Boxer (Calif.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.). He also spoke quietly with Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), an ally of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who wasn't present today.

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 12, 2008; 2:52 PM ET
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Amy Klobuchar endorsed him a while ago.

Posted by: James | August 18, 2008 6:52 AM | Report abuse

How nice. Especially considering it was just yesterday that McCain remarked that Obama's campaign is "singularly lacking in specifics."

Posted by: prettierthanyou | February 13, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

McNut,s reasons for Amnesty
McCain's God,s Children Argument!
Then there is they are all God,s children argument(Another McCain favor) well isn't everyone God,s children? If so then guess McCain is saying everyone and anyone has the right to Invade this Nation, waving their flags, demand their rights, while feasting at the trough of public welfare and Kill, Rape and Rob thousands of American citizens each year!

McCain's Lettuce Argument!
There's the "lettuce" argument -- we'll be paying $50/head (or starving)( McCain really likes this argument) if we don't have illegal aliens working in the fields. As Phil Martin, ag economist at UC Davis shows, the field labor cost in a $1 head of lettuce is about 6 cents. Triple those wages and Americans will do the jobs. (They're not career positions. They're seasonal jobs for young people, starting in the world of work. I have did similarly menial jobs.) And you'll be paying 10% more for lettuce and other produce. Do you spend $1,000/year on produce? OK, you'll pay $100 more.

The lettuce argument also parallels that for the retention of slavery.

Immigrant Argument!
There's the "everyone's an immigrant except for the 'Native Americans'" argument. Well, the American Indians didn't sprout from the land, they came across the Bering land bridge from Asia. So if the criterion is "You're an immigrant if you had an ancestor who immigrated here," then American Indians are immigrants, too.

In that case, "immigrant" is no longer a useful word, since Everyone's an immigrant.

Stole Southwest Argument!
There's the "the U.S. stole the southwest" argument. Well, the land in dispute was "owned" by Spain for a couple of centuries. Then by Mexico for about 25 years. During these periods, there weren't more than a few thousand Spaniards or Mexicans in the entire territory. It's been owned by the U.S. for about 160 years now, much longer than Mexico's reign. And the U.S. has actually done something with the land, made it habitable for tens of millions. As Robert Kaplan has described, the difference between American and Mexican "twin cities" straddling the border is like night and day, yet the land is obviously the same. It's not the dirt that's important, it's the people. Put another way, if culture didn't matter, Mexico and Central America would be paradise.

Illegal pay taxes Argument!

There's the "illegal aliens pay tons of taxes" argument. Sure, they all pay real estate taxes (in rent) and sales taxes (most states). Those working on the books (typically using stolen Social Security numbers) pay FICA and, perhaps, income taxes. But they're mostly ill-educated and low-skilled and pay very low taxes connected to their working -- in fact, most claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, i.e. negative income tax! If a family with both parents working has two kids in school, that's at least $15k/year just for schooling, way more than the taxes on, say, $35k/year aggregate income.

Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation has done the systematic accounting on all this. A typical household headed by a low-skilled illegal alien is a net drain of about $20k/year for the rest of us, year after year. (Low-skilled Americans are a similar burden, but they're part of the national family, not gate crashers from other societies.)

Illegal Bad..Amnesty good Argument!

There's the "illegal immigration is bad, but make them citizens and problem solved" argument. Nope. If that were the case, legalizing (i.e. amnestying) the illegal aliens would solve the problem. But they'd still be (on average) low-skilled workers whose burden on the rest of us would continue. In fact, once legal they'd be able to access more public benefits programs, so their cost to the rest of us would actually rise substantially. In short, most of the problems of mass illegal immigration are shared by mass amnestying them.

The flood of immigrants drives wages and living conditions in our central cities toward those of the Third World.

- The influx imposes both sprawl and gridlock on our metropolitan areas.

- Immigrant families needing services overwhelm our schools, taxpayer-funded health care facilities, and other public agencies.

- Those requiring services don't assimilate and, instead, expect to be served in their native languages.

- American civic culture frays as each ethnic group establishes its own grievance lobby and pushes for preferences.

- Communicable diseases such as tuberculosis (new, drug-resistant strains) return.

- Shortages of water and other resources loom, especially in immigration-blitzed Southwest.

Most that come across our open borders come from countries where, Crime, Corruption, Poverty, Misery, Anti-education, and hate for Americans has existed for centuries and is normal. Should anyone be surprised they bring those same family values across the border with them?

Posted by: american1 | February 12, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse


I'm usually with these types of sentiments (if you want to see honest to goodness biased reporting checkout the last few weeks of NYTimes) but I think Clinton's attendance record is not mentioned here because she's not really a focus in the post. I'm a huge Obama supporter and not even I think Murray is up to anything here.


Posted by: coupland12 | February 12, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

This is an interesting news tidbit for this Obama supporter who believes one of the best match-ups my country has seen in quite a while would be Obama vs. McCain in November. No matter their political differences nor the outcome, I believe both these guys are gentlemen and would insist their respective parties walk a high road in supporting their candidates. In contrast, I think McCain vs. Clinton would be a horror story reminiscent of the very worst political battles in our history--a nightmare no doubt to me instigated by the wicked and relentless "Clinton Machine".

Posted by: binkynh | February 12, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

God forbid the "political reporter" report how they voted.

Posted by: zukermand | February 12, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Hillary's attendance record is slightly better than both McCain and Obama. It likely wasn't included because it's not relevant to a brief, inconsequential article about McCain and Obama. Including Clinton's attendance record would have been OK, but omitting it was the better editorial decision. Not everything is evidence of sinister media bias, foo'.

Posted by: RyanMcC1 | February 12, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

McCain's clearly gearing up for the GE already.

At what point in losing all these primaries does the pressure start to mount on Hillary to drop out, for the good of the party? Does it happen if she doesn't win both Ohio and Texas?

Posted by: rob | February 12, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm... what is Hillary's attendance record? And why is that not mentioned in this piece? Is this forgetfulness or something more sinister? Is either acceptable?

Posted by: crumbtrail | February 12, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

fishing for super delegates...LOL
What a system for a DEMOCRATIC party

Posted by: al_164_1999 | February 12, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

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