RUSH: Immigration, I mentioned, was one of the hotly contested issues at the top of the debate. I did remember calling for the immigration issue to become part of the presidential campaign and I have thus made it so by forcing the question to Mrs. Clinton. So last night, Anderson Cooper starts out, ‘Governor Romney, was New York a sanctuary city?’ And Romney says, ‘Absolutely. It called itself a sanctuary city, and, as a matter of fact, when the welfare reform act that President Clinton brought forward said that they were going to end the sanctuary policy of New York City, the mayor, Giuliani, actually brought a suit to maintain its sanctuary status.’
GIULIANI: It’s unfortunate, but Mitt generally criticizes people in a situation in which he’s had far the worst record. For example, in his case, there were six sanctuary cities. He did nothing about them. There was even a sanctuary mansion. At his own home, illegal immigrants were being employed, not being turned in to anybody or by anyone, and then when he deputized the police, he did it two weeks before he was going to leave office, and they never seemed to even catch the illegal immigrants who are working at his mansion. So I would say he had sanctuary mansion, not just sanctuary city.
RUSH: Now, here’s Romney’s response.
ROMNEY: Mayor, you know better than that.
GIULIANI: No, I —
ROMNEY: Okay, then listen, all right? Then listen. First of all —
GIULIANI: You did have illegal immigrants working at your mansion, didn’t you?
ROMNEY: No, I did not. So let’s just talk about that. Are you suggesting, Mr. Mayor, because I think it’s really kind of offensive, actually, to suggest, to say look, you know what? If you’re a homeowner and you hire a company to come provide a service at your home, paint the home, put on the roof, if you hear someone that’s working out there, not that you’ve employed, but that the company has, if you hear someone with a funny accent, you as a homeowner are supposed to go out there and say, ‘I want to see your papers,’ is that what you’re suggesting?
RUSH: Rudy then shot back with this.
GIULIANI: If you’re going to take this holier-than-thou attitude that your whole approach to immigration was so —
ROMNEY: — not holier-than-thou, mayor. It’s the law.
GIULIANI: — holier-than-thou attitude that you were perfect on immigration —
ROMNEY: I’m not perfect.
GIULIANI: It just so happens you have a special immigration problem that nobody else here has. You were employing illegal immigrants. That is a pretty serious thing. They were under your nose.
RUSH: (laughter) So, you see, now watching this, I’m saying, okay, now, this is the kind of thing — I think it is — ‘sanctuary mansion’ business is a good line. You know what most of our conservative commentators are saying today? That that was a low blow, that that was beneath Rudy’s dignity to make that comment, shouldn’t have happened. It’s fascinating even to watch the conventional on our side of things. I think they might be a little scared, some media people on our side. But, nevertheless, these were the fireworks in the debate last night. And, of course, McCain was next up talking about this. We don’t have time to get the bite in before the break. I’ll save it for after the break and then we’ll go to your phone calls, but in this bite, McCain explains why amnesty — well, he first denies that it was amnesty, but then he explains why it fails, and his answer is pretty good on this because his answer covers far larger territory than just the immigration bill that went down the tubes.
RUSH: At the risk of angering people, I want to say something, because none of my staff here saw the debate last night, and during a little exchange that I just aired between Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, they’re all in there eating it up. They’re just loving it. But let me put this in perspective for you. I think Rudy’s answer to Mitt is evidence that Rudy is defensive on the issue. Rudy didn’t deny any of this stuff. ‘Oh, well, you’re sanctuary mansion.’ ‘Well, you’re sanctuary city!’ The fact of the matter is, take a look at which of these two — and I’m not sure here — is saying things right now that’s most apropos about illegal immigration, shutting the borders, building the fence. Duncan Hunter actually, I think, won that one last night on what he would do, but one of these two guys’ policies is what most of the Republican base wants, and it sort of got obfuscated here with this little tit and tat back-and-forth. It was entertaining, but it didn’t advance anything, and, after it’s over, you still don’t know what each other’s position on illegal immigration is. (interruption) No, you don’t. You don’t know whether they’d build a fence. You don’t know whether they would enforce border security.
You don’t know it yet, not by virtue of that answer. You may know it because of previous appearances, but you don’t know it by virtue of that answer. The base… (interruption) Nah, wait a second, Snerdley. Wait a second. Snerdley said, ‘The base knows already who’s conservative and who isn’t,’ and I ‘said so myself.’ I have not said any such thing. What have you been listening to? You been listening to Air America? (interruption) Last night!, I said that what that debate brought forth for me last night was, that a lot of top-tier candidates have in their past, as governors, policies and behaviors that are not conservative. All right? Last night, that’s what stuck out at me. Anyway, I don’t want to belabor this because we could sit here all day and discuss it. I’m just trying to share with you what I see when I watch these things. The entertainment value is one thing. I try to get past this. This is serious stuff (sigh), and there are definite things we want on this issue of illegal immigration. Look, this is all going to sort itself out down the road. Mr. Snerdley, if there is one stand-above-’em-all conservative in this race, how come the leader in the national polls right now, in the primaries, has 32%, and that’s Rudy? I think the fact that they don’t see a full-fledged, down-the-road conservative in this race is why you got the leader at 32 and then the next guy at 28. There’s a 32, 26… (interruption) The most important thing right now is national security, which dovetails to immigration, but don’t forget the tax business and so forth. We’re talking conservatism here, not issues. I’m just telling you that if there were an unarguable, inarguable, through-the-roof Reagan conservative, he’d be at 60% or certainly over 50. I’m not criticizing anybody here. Maybe I’m too anal about this. I just don’t want conservatism here to get watered down to be something that it isn’t. Pure and simple. I have nothing against any of these guys. I like them all. I respect them all. I admire them all, pure and simple. Here’s McCain. Anderson Cooper: ‘Senator McCain, let me bring you back to the question that was asked by the YouTube user. Are you willing to veto any immigration bill that involved amnesty for those who have come here illegal?’
MCCAIN: Yes, of course, and we never proposed amnesty but, you know, this whole debate —
ANDERSON: Come on, please, let him answer.
MCCAIN: You know, this whole debate saddens me a little bit because we do have a serious situation in America. We tried to get something done. We said we’d enforce the borders. The American people didn’t believe us. They don’t believe us because of our failure in Katrina, our failure in Iraq, our failures in reining in corruption and out-of-control spending. So we tried, and we failed, and I appreciate the president’s efforts. He comes from a border state, too, and what we’ve learned is that the American people want borders enforced. We must enforce the border — secure the borders first. But then you’ve still got two other aspects of this issue that have to be resolved as well, and we sit — we need to sit down as Americans, and recognize these are God’s children as well.
RUSH: We cut it off there, but that got a huge applause line from the audience. In addition to ‘God’s children,’ Huckabee talked about this. Huckabee talked about this, because in Arkansas, he had some illegal immigration proposals for children that would let ’em go to school, paid for by the taxpayers and so forth, and he said, ‘Look, we’re a compassionate people. These are children. We can’t punish them for the crimes of their parents. Their parents are the ones that came here illegally.’ I was sitting there saying, ‘I got an answer to this, Governor Huckabee. If you’re not going to punish the kids, if you’re going to going ahead and pay for their education, you’re just providing an incentive for more parents to come across the border and give birth.’ At some point, this has to stop! McCain’s right. We’ve got a couple or three phases of this problem. But the first phase that’s got to happen is: Secure the border and stop the flood of illegals coming in. As long as there are incentives on this side of the border to come in — and it’s a big incentive to have your kid born here when you’re illegal — get all this aid and so forth to go to school and so forth, it’s an incentive for them to come. Does that sound cruel and cold-hearted, Mr. Snerdley? (interruption) Mmm-hmm. Mmm-hmm. Mmm-hmm. Well… (interruption) Well… (interruption) Well, I’m not talking about smears right now, I’m just talking about Huckabee’s answer to the illegal alien question.