NewsNation | February 20, 2013
>>> so new information the president is reaching out to senators working to get a reform bill off the ground. the white house reporting that the president called three of four senators working on a bipartisan bill. john mccain , marco rubio and lindsey graham all got a call. he remains supportive of their work after a leaked plan that republicans say undermines congressional efforts. republicans are having a hard time selling key elements of the plan to their base. two town hall meetings in the home state of arizona, john mccain faced angry questions from his constituents.
>> why didn't the army go stop them? the only thing that stops them i'm afraid to say and it's too damn bad is a gun.
>> the border is long, sir. i don't know how many troops or army people you think would have been required. i don't know how many you think is required, but i will give you expert information that shows you are talking about two million soldiers.
>> cutoff their welfare and they will go back.
>> joining me now live here is columnist and latino contributor raul reyes . as we talked about the optics of that town hall , i will go back to the phone calls that took place with the president reaching out to lindsey graham & marco rubio and members of the immigration eight. calling marco rubio as he is on the trip to the mideast and he is in israel, the senator told the president he feels good about the negotiations and hopeful the final product is something that can pass the senate with strong support. as this coverage continues about going back and forth and not having the personal relationships to get it off the ground, what do you make of the fact that the phone calls were made?
>> i think it was a wise move. right now they havehis symbiotic relationship because they need each other to push reform for it to succeed. i wouldn't say they are amigos.
>> you call them frenemies.
>> right, frenemies. they have this relationship that the president has not reached out. now the president has the situation saying okay, look. i called you. the ironic thing is just last year when marco was complaining, saying he was removed from the process, typically just like as we saw with the leaked document, he said he is undermining the process and defeat it that way.
>> for makes it interesting with the president coming out and having that remark about the sequester. brow beating the gop and here's the tactics and gorging the relationships. when we got the phone call , we have gm who is holding the town halls and he gave interesting responses. take a look. you can't do that. why can't you? we are a judeo christian principaled nation.
>> you said build a dang fence. where is the fence?
>> in case you missed it --
>> that's not a fence.
>> we're put up a banana with $600 million worth of appropriations.
>> it was funny he was able to respond and stay fluid with the critics. it was a tough crowd. he sounds like chuck schumer . is that telling where he stands moving forward in his ability to seriously commit to working with the president.
>> i think it reflects where he is going. looking at the town hall unfortunately the type of anger he is receiving and what it reflects is the scapegoating and the demonizing of immigrants that the republican party has been a part of over the last few years. now you have these people making claims that the undocumented immigrants are on cell fair and receiving social security , none of which are true. mccain finds himself in a position to fight back against the sentiments which helped create. it's a tough job. but the fact is a majority of people do want comprehensive reform. these people who have the misinformation are a minority. they are very vocal.
>> one thing i wanted to get out is the phone call with the president saying that the obama administration on immigration was not an issue. president obama gave a statement through jay carney saying that the president was very encouraged by the bipartisan group in the senate. is that all it's going to take. i'm looking over and now i need to back off.
>> he has to be part of it, but sort of keep hands off. indirect pressure, if you will. it's interesting. just today we saw a new coalition with the campaign for citizenship and all the groups with the asian americans and latinos and evangelicals and pushing for tuesdayship and immigration reform . that's snag they need to keep in mind. there is coalitions around this issue. it's going to be happening. they need to get on board and be part of it.
>> thank you, sir.