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McCain & Giuliani Tussle Over Immigration

So much for the promised friction between Romney and McCain on immigration.

John McCain answers a question from CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer, right, during Tuesday night's Republican presidential primary debate. (AP)

A conflict did break out, but it was between McCain and Giuliani.

Giuliani said the immigration legislation cosponsored by McCain is "a typical Washington mess." He said the bill is the result of a series of compromises, which have rendered it useless. "The litmus test you should have for legislation is will it make things better," he added.

McCain pushed back. "Rudy you just described our legislation," he said -- repeating his mantra that immigration is a national security issue. "For us to do nothing is silent and de facto amnesty," McCain added.

Giuliani went back at McCain. "I've read the 400 pages," he said, arguing that in Washington, "They say things and then it is not in the legislation."

Romney got his licks in on the issue but avoided the fray. He resisted a chance to hit McCain, calling him a "friend" and adding:"I am not going to make this a matter of personal politics." Later, Romney called for making the Z-visa program in the Senate legislation temporary and called on the government to enforce current law. He drew two rounds of applause. (The Z-visa would permit immigrants who have entered the country before 2007 to apply for a visa that would permit them to live and work in the country as long as they pay a series of fees and renew the visa every two years.)

VIDEO | (Courtesy CNN)

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 5, 2007; 7:37 PM ET
Categories:  Republican Party  
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Next: Thompson Looms Over Debate


Funny, but I don't recall Rudy supplying McCain with an alternative proposal. So, was he implying that McCain's original bill is the right way to go? Or does he disagree with his path? I did not leave that portion of the debate with a clear understanding of Rudy's plan on immigration. Rather I left feeling he was simply attacking McCain and complaining with no ideas for solutions.

Posted by: Cindyh | June 5, 2007 9:25 PM | Report abuse

And what did the crickets in the audience think? I can hear them chirping in the theatre, and I'm not even there.

Posted by: ErrinF | June 5, 2007 7:43 PM | Report abuse

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