Mitchell Reports | February 20, 2013
>> if you ever wondered just why comprehensive immigration reform is such a heavy lift for lawmakers, just ask john mccain . he got an earful at a town hall meeting in arizona last night.
>> why didn't the army go down there and stop them? because the only thing that stops them, i'm afraid to say and it's too damn bad, but is a gun. that's all that will stop them.
>> the border's 2,000 miles long, sir. i don't know how much troops and army people you think would have been required. i don't know how many you think will be required, but i'll give you expert information that shows you probably maybe you're talking about 2 million soldiers. you want to round up 11 million people and send them back to their country? you're not going to do that. they are not going to do that, though. they are people who have been here illegally for 50 years or 40 years. and then telling them to become guest workers? no, you can't do that. why can't you do that? because we're a judeo christian nation.
>> you're a senator with a government doing nothing about it. you said build a dang fence. where's the fence?
>> in case you missed it, i showed you.
>> that's not a fence!
>> it's not a fence? it's a banana. we put up a banana with about $600 million appropriations we have.
>> that is just sort of a snapshot of what these senators and members of congress are encountering on their recesses. joining me now for our daily fix, chris cillizza , managing editor of postpolitics.com and "new york times" david sanger . a lot to get to today. first, chris cillizza , build the dang fence. that was john mccain 's campaign advertisement a couple of years ago, and now it's being thrown back at him and he's trying to take a rational approach and he's facing the anger of the people who live near the border.
>> you know, andrea , you can sort of follow the politics of the attempt to comprehensively reform immigration through the sort of lens of john mccain . remember in 2007 , john mccain was very involved in this idea of comprehensive immigration reform . that support virtually ended his candidacy for president. he abandoned that and wound up in him coming back to be the 2008 nominee. in 2010 where the build the dang fence ad ran, he was facing a republican primary in his senate race saying that mccain was for amnesty, mccain wanted to let people who were here illegally stay. mccain ran hard to the right, won the primary easily. now it's john mccain looking at his legacy, i think, and saying coming back to sort of where he was in 2007 and saying, look, these 11 million people aren't just going to go back. we need to do something about the system that's broken and still there is that opposition. in some ways it's not different from the opposition that was there in '07, frankly, andrea , that led him to kind of walk away from his initial support from immigration reform because he wanted to be the republican presidential nominee .
>> now, david sanger , you have john mccain facing this, but for the first time now, the president called marco rubio in israel, reached out to marco rubio , reached out to lindsey graham . he's finally calling the republican members of the bipartisan coalition after only dealing with chuck schumer and the democrats up until then.
>> it's a big change for the president. i think as chris indicated, you saw in that clip a republican party that is caught between its traditional base and its past. and in marco rubio , what it hopes is its future. they all saw the numbers coming out of this presidential election . they saw how hispanics voted. they recognized that they needed to change, but the party's having a difficult time just getting back to where george w. bush was in 2001 when he first came in and proposed an immigration reform that sort of went away as soon as 9/11 happened.
>> let me ask you about the sequester, chris cillizza , because the pentagon is suggesting there will be 700,000 civilian layoffs. real people are being effected now, but everyone expects this will kick in in nine days and then, i guess, the white house thinks they'll negotiate the continuing resolution and some sort of an agreement will occur magically before the end of march. republicans still say they won't buy into any taxes. so we haven't bridged any of these gaps.
>> we haven't, andrea . look, i know the president came out and gave a statement yesterday sort of expressing his desire for a deal, but i think this is really about -- and republicans are doing this too -- about positioning for march 2nd and beyond. no one expects a congress, who isn't even here this week, they are taking the president's week off, fine with me if i had that week off. they are taking this week off. next week they are back. congress doesn't get big budget deals done in eight days' time, seven days' time. the political positioning to see who has the upper hand in the negotiations that, in theory, will go ond the cuts, as you point out which will, particularly in the federal workforce, will effect things. once people realize those are happening and demand of their elected officials something that averts those cuts in the future.
>> and the whole question of cyber attacks, the administration, eric holder and others are going to come out with their proposals this afternoon. we've been reporting on this, but you, david sanger , were the first to report on the study by a top security firm, which for the first time zeroed in not just on china, but a particular building in shanghai, which is believed to house a unit, a top elite unit of the chinese army .
>> i think the difference in the long report that we published in "the times" yesterday, which was based on what they did, then we went off on other security firms to see if we could confirm their findings, and we did. was that for the first time these attacks that the chinese have largely denied are coming out of the government have been taken right down to a neighborhood that's dominated by the headquarters of this unit 61398. it's the cyber unit, a major cyber unit, of the people's liberation army . and the element of surprise here is how much is coming either out of that building or you've got to believe out of the noodle shops surrounding that building, given the volume, it's hard to believe --
>> we're talking about thousands of cyber attacks against at least 141 companies, 27 industries, at least according to this one report that officials have confirmed for both you and me.
>> that's right. and this was just following one major chinese hacking group called comment crew or the shanghai group, which is believed synonymous with this p. l.a. unit. that does not include many of the other chinese groups of which there are probably about 20 that are followed regularly. by the way, "the new york times" was hit by a chinese group, but wasn't the one we wrote about.
>> well, david sanger , more to come on this. thank you very much for joining us. and chris cillizza , as well.