Lindsey Graham: 'In 2007 When We Tried To Do Immigration Reform, Obama Folded Like a Cheap Suit'

As America's media predictably fall in line behind any attempts President Obama makes to reform immigration policy, one has to wonder if they're going to recall how he cast the pivotal vote in the Senate in 2007 to block such legislation.

Keeping the press on their toes, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Fox New's On the Record Monday, "In 2007 when we tried to do immigration reform, he folded like a cheap suit" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: One of those Senators, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham joins us. Good evening, sir. So are we going to get immigration, bipartisan immigration reform?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SOUTH CAROLINA): Well, there will be no immigration reform unless it's bipartisan. But if you want to talk about the president bringing us together and being a bold leader, in 2007 when we tried to do immigration reform, he folded like a cheap suit when the labor, AFL-CIO got mad at the bill to allow temporary workers. Obama, Senator Obama put a sunset on the temporary worker provision which destroyed the bill for business.

So I don't need a lecture from Barack Obama about bipartisanship. He was never very good at it in the Senate. And if you’re going to get a bill, you need the President involved.

So Mr. President when you speak tomorrow to the nation about immigration reform, I hope you don't suggest that you're going to take a pathway to citizenship and delink it from border security because if you don’t secure the border, we know what happens: you’re going to have twelve million illegal immigrants twenty years from now.

Regardless of Graham's trip down memory lane, it seems a metaphysical certitude the Obama-loving press are going to ignore what happened in 2007.

As a refresher, here's what the late Robert Novak reported that June:

Democrat Byron Dorgan, who seldom has tasted legislative success during 15 years in the Senate, scored a dubious victory last week. He was able to insert a poison pill in the immigration reform bill that aimed at emasculating the essential guest worker program. The 49 to 48 vote that passed Dorgan's amendment included surprising support from two prominent first-term senators: Jim DeMint, a conservative Republican from South Carolina, and Barack Obama. [...]

The Dorgan amendment is a classic poison pill: designed to kill, not improve, the bill. Its passage makes resurrection of immigration reform all the more difficult. Decisive votes by DeMint and Obama were not appreciated by the bipartisan group that had crafted the bargain intended to secure America's borders while permitting an orderly flow of temporary workers. [...]

Obama's vote for the poison pill was unexpected because he had participated, uninvited, one time in the bipartisan negotiating process. He had demanded and won a provision permitting immigrants to stay on the job after being designated "not employable" by the government under the new system until their appeals were exhausted. Obama's support for the Dorgan amendment then infuriated Republicans in the negotiating group who had opposed the concession to the presidential candidate. 


In case you're thinking the conservative Novak was being a tad partisan with his piece, here's what the Associated Press wrote on June 7 that year:

A proposed immigration overhaul narrowly survived several strong Senate challenges Wednesday, but it suffered a potentially deal-breaking setback early Thursday.

Shortly after midnight, the Senate voted 49-48 to end a new temporary worker program after five years. The vote reversed the one-vote outcome on the same amendment offered both times by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. two weeks ago. Six senators switched their votes, reflecting the issue's political volatility.

Earlier that day, the AP reported (via LexisNexis, no link available, emphasis added):

June 7, 2007 Thursday 1:51 PM GMT

How they voted: Senate vote by party on immigration amendment

BYLINE: By The Associated Press

SECTION: WASHINGTON DATELINE

LENGTH: 327 words

The 49-48 roll call by which the Senate passed an amendment to the proposed immigration overhaul that would end a temporary worker program after five years.

On this vote, a "yes" vote was a vote to end the program after five years and a "no" vote was a vote against adding this time limit to the program.

Voting "yes" were 37 Democrats, 11 Republicans and one independent.

Voting "no" were 10 Democrats, 37 Republicans and one independent.

Democrats Yes

Baucus, Mont.; Bayh, Ind.; Biden, Del.; Bingaman, N.M.; Boxer, Calif.; Brown, Ohio; Byrd, W.Va.; Cardin, Md.; Casey, Pa.; Clinton, N.Y.; Conrad, N.D.; Dorgan, N.D.; Durbin, Ill.; Feingold, Wis.; Harkin, Iowa; Inouye, Hawaii; Klobuchar, Minn.; Kohl, Wis.; Landrieu, La.; Lautenberg, N.J.; Leahy, Vt.; Levin, Mich.; McCaskill, Mo.; Menendez, N.J.; Mikulski, Md.; Murray, Wash.; Nelson, Fla.; Nelson, Neb.; Obama, Ill.; Reed, R.I.; Reid, Nev.; Rockefeller, W.Va.; Schumer, N.Y.; Stabenow, Mich.; Tester, Mont.; Webb, Va.; Wyden, Ore.


The following year, as the presidential campaign was in full swing, the Christian Science Monitor reported on April 17, 2008:

Obama was part of the bipartisan group of senators who began meeting in 2005 on comprehensive immigration reform. But last summer, with the presidential nominating race well under way, Obama backed 11th-hour amendments - supported by labor, immigrant rights, and clergy groups - that Republicans saw as imperiling the fragile compromise.

None of those measures passed. But Obama was part of a 49-to-48 majority that voted to end after five years a temporary worker program that had been a cornerstone of the immigration deal. The vote, backed by labor, was seen as a major setback to bipartisan negotiations.

Will Obama's media recall any of this as they predictably gush and fawn over any immigration bill he submits now?

Don't hold your breath.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.