GOP presidential candidate John McCain is inviting his Democratic rival, Barack Obama, to participate in a joint town hall meeting at an open-borders advocacy group’s upcoming meeting in California.
“There is a meeting in California of La Raza,” McCain told reporters at an Arlington press conference Monday. “Both of us have accepted invitations. I say that we have a town hall meeting together in front of La Raza. I think that the people will be far more informed and in some ways, entertained if we had that format.”
The National Council of La Raza, which described itself as a Hispanic rights group and whose name translates as "the race" in English, is roundly criticized by border hawks who oppose La Raza?s liberal stance on amnesty and other benefits for illegal immigrants.
Although a La Raza town hall would surely cause outcry among those border hawks the Hispanic demographic is expected to be a coveted voting block in the general election-- a group McCain has courted, with some success, through his support of comprehensive immigration reform. In 2005, McCain co-sponsored a bill, which La Raza endorsed, critics said would award amnesty to illegal aliens with Democratic Sen. Teddy Kennedy (Mass.). The bill did not pass and McCain's work to push it cause irreparable damage with many members of his GOP base.
McCain's call for a La Raza town hall is the latest in a drumbeat of invitations he's given to Obama in hopes of holding a series of 10 joint town hall meetings, where the McCain camp believes their candidate would give a strong performance. So far Obama has only offered to hold one town hall on July 4, almost ensuring the event would be overlooked by most voters enjoying the Independence Day holiday.
La Raza will be holding their annual meeting in San Diego July 12-15. Both McCain and Obama are scheduled to address the more than 20,000 expected attendees.