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“He knows better than anybody that comprehensive reform is the whole package. It’s the border security with it; there’s no other way to do it that doesn’t wreak complete havoc,” he said.

Where Mr. Obama was received enthusiastically, Mr. McCain was received politely, with the exception of an early interruption by antiwar protesters.

But the Republican did some things Mr. Obama did not at the NCLR convention: He took questions from the audience and criticized those he said used harsh rhetoric in the immigration debate “to denigrate the contributions of Hispanics to our great country. I denounced those insults then, and I denounce them today.”

That remark won him a strong round of applause, exceeded only when he tossed his microphone from the stage so a man could ask his question.

Mr. McCain criticized Mr. Obama for not taking questions or meeting him face to face at the convention.

“I asked Senator Obama to have a town hall meeting, to come here with me and share the same stage, to respond to your questions,” Mr. McCain said. “And yet he has refused to do that.”

On Sunday, Mr. McCain’s advisers gave details about how the senator would achieve his border security pledge, saying his goals were laid out in two measures he sponsored with Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, and other senators after the immigration bill collapsed last year.

The measures - one was an amendment attached to the Senate’s homeland security spending bill and the other was a stand-alone bill that was never put to a vote - call for 700 miles of fencing in addition to 300 miles of vehicle barriers, establishing mandatory jail time for illegal immigrants and mandating an employer verification system.

Those mandates go far beyond what President Bush has accomplished on enforcement.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Mr. McCain’s top domestic policy adviser, said it is not clear whether such a plan will require new legislation or whether Mr. McCain can use existing authority.

“We’ve got to re-evaluate where we are when he sets foot in office,” Mr. Holtz-Eakin said.