A few more details on that late-night, closed-door town-hall session John McCain held with Hispanic community members in Chicago the other night are finally becoming available — thanks to one of the wingnuts in attendance.

It seems the McCain camp, in their zeal to keep out the more vocally liberal members of the Latino community (who were excluded from the session) decided to include on the list of invitees one Rosanna Pulido, apparently because of her association with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (despite the fact that the latter has been designated a hate group by the SPLC).

She is also, as it happens, the founder of the Illinois Minutemen, and the Illinois spokesperson for the anti-immigrant group You Don’t Speak For Me. She also was a vocal supporter of the virulently anti-immigrant Republican candidate Jim Oberweis in the IL-14 race against Bill Foster to replace Denny Hastert — a guy McCain endorsed and stumped for.

So Pulido filed a scathing report at Free Republic about the meeting with "Juan McCain":

John Mc Cain’s favorite words of the evening were Comprehensive Immigration Reform. But he started out first of all saying if he is gonna win the Presidential election he will need the support of the Latino community.

He said " My state has been enriched by the Hispanic culture in Arizona."

Then John MC Cain asked a question "Did you know this? I bet some of you did not know that Spanish was spoken in Arizona before English" …Loud cheers from the audience. (Ok John Mc Cain What is your AZATLAN POINT?)

Then he said " I want to have some straight talk about our relationship with Mexico,our closest neighbor and dearest friend" He talked about the Mexican President fighting the drug cartels.

Then John Mc Cain aid the exact thing I came to hear, he said "I was proud to work for Comprehensive Immigration Reform and If I am elected President I assure you that in 2009 I will ask Congress to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform." (The crowd goes wild)"It is a Federal Responsibility" he said and continued " we also need a temporary guest worker program"

He then told a story about a day laborer who got picked up this morning, worked all day and then never got paid…We have no Federal Policy, we cannot allow this to happen, he said, He repeated I assure you that I will work for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

John McCain talked about a debate he was in about enforcing the law and he says that the "other side had a lot of "Rhetoric" "you know what I am talking about!" he said.

Funny. When McCain was onstage with his fellow Republican presidential candidates earlier this year (see the video above), he told the audience that he would not even vote for his own immigration-reform bill now, because he was changing to a "secure the borders first" stance.

Then there was the time he appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News program, and the exchange went like this:

Bill O’Reilly: But do you understand what the New York Times wants, and the far-left want? They want to break down the white, Christian, male power structure, which you’re a part, and so am I, and they want to bring in millions of foreign nationals to basically break down the structure that we have. In that regard, Pat Buchanan is right. So I say you’ve got to cap with a number.

John McCain: In America today we’ve got a very strong economy and low unemployment, so we need addition farm workers, including by the way agriculture, but there may come a time where we have an economic downturn, and we don’t need so many.


O’Reilly: But in this bill, you guys have got to cap it. Because estimation is 12 million, there may be 20 [million]. You don’t know, I don’t know. We’ve got to cap it.

McCain: We do, we do. I agree with you.

I guess it depends on who McCain is talking to on a given day. Or at a given moment.

But given the way the anti-Latino faction is frothing over his secretive little "I’m your friend just don’t tell anyone" meetings with Latinos, it’s not really any wonder this town hall wasn’t open to the press. His problem is that the same faction is the Republican base. So of course he has to keep it quiet.

After all, how else can he reassure Latinos he’ll do the right thing on immigration despite being at the mercy of a party full of raging nativists? Heaven forfend he should do it in broad daylight. Someone might get the wrong idea.

David Neiwert

David Neiwert

David Neiwert is the managing editor of Firedoglake. He's a freelance journalist based in Seattle and the author/editor of the blog Orcinus. He also is the author of Strawberry Days: How Internment Destroyed a Japanese American Community (Palgrave/St. Martin's Press, June 2005), as well as Death on the Fourth of July: The Story of a Killing, a Trial, and Hate Crime in America (Palgrave/St. Martin's, 2004), and In God's Country: The Patriot Movement and the Pacific Northwest (1999, WSU Press). His reportage for MSNBC.com on domestic terrorism won the National Press Club Award for Distinguished Online Journalism in 2000.