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Immigration

The New York Times writes up Bush's immigration speech yesterday in Georgia this way: "President Bush took on parts of his conservative base on Tuesday by accusing opponents of his proposed immigration measure of fear-mongering to defeat its passage in Congress. 'If you want to scare the American people, what you say is the bill's an amnesty bill,' Mr. Bush said… 'That's empty political rhetoric trying to frighten our citizens.'" More: It was a rare case of the president's taking on the coalition that helped him win and keep the Oval Office, the same conservative radio hosts, bloggers, writers and members of Congress who contributed significantly to the defeat of immigration measures last year."

The Washington Post: "But conservatives bristled at his remarks. 'I don't think name-calling does any good at this point,' said David A. Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union. 'What they've done from the very beginning is say, "This is the way we want it done, and anyone who disagrees with us is outside the mainstream." . . . It's been badly handled. They'll be lucky, given the attitudes in the country, to come up with anything.'"

More GOP complaints, per the Washington Times: "'That's hurtful language,' said Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican. 'If the bill did what they promised it was going to do, I'd support it. I'm for comprehensive reform, but it has to serve the national interests, not political interest. I don't think it's courage to support this flawed bill. I think sometimes it takes a bit of courage to resist this kind of short-term reform, so we can create a system that can actually work,' Mr. Sessions said. Rep. Brian P. Bilbray, California Republican and chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus, took issue with Mr. Bush's assertion that critics are objecting to a 'narrow slice' of the bill. 'Amnesty for 12-20 million illegal immigrants isn't a 'narrow slice' ... it's the whole darn pie,' Mr. Bilbray said."

The Politico offers up a midterm report card on the immigration legislation. "So what happens when a conservative, a liberal and a president with flagging support on Capitol Hill try to address immigration, one of the most emotionally charged issues of the day? They make progress, apparently."