On critics calling the bill "amnesty:"
"I don't know how you can call $5000, a wait of at least 8 years (and other restrictions), amnesty."On the possibility of slowing this puppy down so people can read and understand it:
"The severe critics of it at least owe us their solution that can make it through the Senate of the United States."
He'd like to get it done this week, he said, and sounded like he thought there shouldn't be much trouble with the public understanding the issue. I'd beg to differ with him there after reading Hugh's analysis. Sheesh, nobody's getting through that without a J.D. or a life of immigration expertise and coming out in one piece.
"We should vote for cloture and...five days of intense debate and amendments, we can get this done."
"This is a product of the leadership of our president, leader of our party. Negotiations have been going on for literally years."
"I think it's something we ought to give a chance to be at least debated and presented before it's roundly condemned."
"It's not that the issue isn't well understood by the American people."On rampant Trutherism (one third of Democrats polled):
"I think it's something that happens in America and probably a sign ofa healthy America that these theories are given a hearing. At the sametime, it does hurt us in this war of public opinion...to have somecredible people, including Congressmen, questioning the entire rationale."
"That number is disturbing of the Democrats, but I think thatmay have more to do with the irrational dislike of President Bush thanbelief in the theories."
On more amnesty charges, particularly concerning the immediate legal status card granted as soon as illegals come out of the shadows:
"I would describe it as a probationary status. You either put them on aprobationary status or deal with rounding up 12 million people anddeporting them or let them wash around the country ilegally."
"The purpose of this coming forward immediately is so we can indentify them."
"I don't see that as amnesty."
Will those with "probationary" cards be allowed to stay if they just want to skip the whole becoming-a-citizen thing?"
"No, if he's not goign to go through that process...then he's going to have to apply for a worker visa."On communicating about this bill to an emotional, often angry base:
"At townhall meetings, when I start talking about immigration, there are stone faces and anger...After a while, I see people nodding and knowing that the system is broken."
"The problem is, it takes me 5 minutes, whereas the opposition can do it in a 15, 30-second soundbite."
"Maybe some of the emotion will cool off and die down a little bit so we can have a discussion."
"I had hoped because the President is leading on this, some of ourRepublcain base would give him more of a chance to make his case, butthere is not more emotional issue among our base."
"I understand the frustration and anger that people feel after a generation of a broken system."
On the Bush no-back-taxes proposal:
"I would resist that...If they want to be law-abiding citizens, they should be able to pay their back taxes."
"I worry a great deal about the Maliki government...they should be ableto sit down and pass this law (oil revenu sharing and de-Baathification)...they've got to act inclusively and itdisturbs all of us when they're thinking about taking three monthsoff."
"I counsel patience...It's long and hard and tough...But Iunderstand what's happening with the American people...these suicidebombings have very little military effect, but they have tremendous PReffect."
"Patience and time, patience and time, patience and time.UNfortuantely, time isn't on our side in Washington, but I still thinkthis is the right strategy."