Sen. John McCain welcomed President Obama to Arizona ahead of his Wednesday afternoon visit, but called on the president to make it more than a quick campaign stop, imploring him to spend some time addressing the negative impact his administration’s policies are having on jobs and immigration.
“During his visit, I hope the president takes in some of the incredible beauty and history of our state.” the Arizona Republican said in a statement. “But most importantly, I encourage him to sit down with hardworking Arizonans and hear first-hand about the painful challenges they’re facing in this economy.”
In his trademark combative style, Mr. McCain urged the president to “tear himself away from his taxpayer-funded campaign stop” to make his first-ever visit to the Arizona-Mexico border.
“It’s a quick flight, and I’m sure the citizens living there, who struggle every day with the consequences of a porous border, would appreciate the president finally acknowledging that securing the border is a top priority for the federal government,” he said.
During Tuesday night’s State of the Union speech, the president called on Congress to pursue a bipartisan compromise on comprehensive immigration reform, an issue Mr. McCain spearheaded before dropping the issue before his unsuccessful 2008 presidential run. Mr. Obama also claimed credit for having most border patrol agents to the U.S.-Mexico border than any other president.
“I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration,” he said. “That’s why my administration has put more boots on the border than ever before. That’s why there are fewer illegal crossings than when I took office. The opponents of action are out of excuses. We should be working on comprehensive immigration reform right now.”
Mr. McCain also pressed Mr. Obama to address his administration’s “failed housing plans” and its recently-enacted mining ban for Arizona, which he said “perversely promises to kill hundreds of jobs” at a time when unemployment in Arizona is already at 8.7 percent and nearly half of the state’s homeowners owe more on their mortgages than their home is worth.