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McCain takes aim at Romney over immigration
Michael Roston
Published: Monday May 21, 2007
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Senator John McCain escalated a dispute over his immigration bill with a competitor for the 2008 Republican nomination for President, according to a report at the New York Sun's Latest Politics website.

"Maybe I should wait a couple weeks and see if it changes," Ryan Sager reports Senator McCain saying in reference to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's position on immigration. "Maybe he can get out his small varmint gun and drive those Guatemalans off his yard."

Sager reports that McCain made the remark during a conference call with bloggers on Monday morning. The Arizona Republican's remark about the 'small varmint gun' referred to Romney's explanation of when he had hunted in the past.

"I've always been a rodent and rabbit hunter, Romney said in April. "Small varmints, if you will. I began when I was 15 or so and I have hunted those kinds of varmints since then. More than two times."

Furthermore, McCain was pointing to Romney's history of hiring undocumented Guatemalan workers to tend to his yard.

"For a decade, the governor has used a landscaping company that relies heavily on workers like these, illegal Guatemalan immigrants, to maintain the grounds surrounding his pink Colonial house on Marsh Street in Belmont," the Boston Globe first reported in December.

Romney was critical of the immigration reform bill co-sponsored by Senator McCain and introduced last week.

"If that's not a form of amnesty, I don't know what is," he said in South Carolina on Saturday.

One conservative blogger at the National Review Online, Jim Geraghty, commented of McCain's remark, "Holy crap, that was a slam."

In the conference call, McCain also made the Republican political calculus on immigration clear.

"The Hispanic vote is turning against us in very large numbers," Sager reports him saying. "It's just something we have to do as a nation, but as a Republican I think it's important that we get this resolved."

Sager's full blog post can be accessed at this link.