From NBC's Andrew Merten
In light of what has been a tough week for McCain -- with yesterday's failure of comprehensive immigration reform and unease on Iraq expressed by Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar -- the Arizona senator spoke about the state of his presidential campaign in Chicago today. Regarding the Senate's resistance to end debate and move ahead on the immigration bill he has championed, McCain expressed disappointment, saying, "We're still left with de facto amnesty because we still have 12 million people in this country, and we don't know who they are or what they're doing." He went on to explain that 40 percent of illegal immigrants did not cross the border illegally (they came in on visas that later expired), and that tougher border security alone will not solve the problem of people who are already here.
On Lugar, McCain told reporters that he has "great respect" for his GOP colleague, but indicated that his position is not likely to change, saying: "I always appreciate the advice and counsel of any of my colleagues, but my positions, especially on national security issues, are certainly thought through."
Finally, McCain commented on the state of his campaign's fundraising, shielding himself from what will likely be a disappointing quarter in comparison to opponents Romney and Giuliani, saying, "Money is not going to win this campaign," explaining that he hopes to still have the chance to meet face to face with enough voters in New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina. He used the opportunity to revisit the topic of immigration, saying, "They'll support me in the end, because they know I'll always do what I believe is right, and if it happens to have some political damages, I'm happy to absorb that damage."