A senior adviser to John McCain’s presidential campaign was pressed on immigration issues in a conference call with bloggers Friday.
John Hawkins, of Rightwingnews.com and Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey inquired about McCain’s support of an immigration enforcement act sponsored by Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler (D.-N.C.) and the influence McCain’s Hispanic Outreach Director Juan Hernandez had on McCain.
The blogger call was intended to promote McCain’s upcoming “Service to America Tour” but the campaign took questions on a broad range of issues.
Hawkins asked McCain adviser Steve Schmidt about allegations McCain was blocking Schuler’s legislation, titled the Secure America Through Verification and Enforcement Act. Earlier this week Shuler claimed progress on moving the bill through the House was “going great until McCain blocked it.”
Shuler, a former NFL player, says McCain did this by asking Republican members of the House not to sign a discharge petition to advance the bill in a series of phone calls.
Schmidt said, “The comments with regard to the phone calls are false and makes you wonder if Heath Shuler had one too many encounters with a line backer in his previous profession and where he came up with that from.”
Schmidt said he did not know if McCain was supportive of Shuler’s bill or not.
With regards to Hernandez, an open-borders advocate whose role in McCain’s campaign outrages conservatives concerned with border enforcement, Schmidt expressed some frustration to the continued questions about Hernandez.
“John McCain’s position on immigration is very clear and this a question that gets asked at townhall appearances everyday in media appearances and has answered the question at least a thousand times before the New Hampshire primary,” Schmidt said.
He explained, “Any person who supports John McCain’s campaigns is a subscriber to John McCain’s views and even if those people have published things or said things in terms of policy that are contrary to John McCain’s policies that does not mean John McCain supports that person’s view. That person is working in a campaign to help express John McCain’s view.”
Schmidt added, “There has been a lot of focus on staff members of campaigns that obscure the big issues.”