MSNBC Scarborough Country - Transcript
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SCARBOROUGH: And despite the fact that the presidents own party is running from him on immigration reform, a new Gallup poll shows conservative support for the president has actually gone up 9 percentage points since he began pushing for a ban on gay marriage earlier this week. But will those gains be offset as the immigration debate grinds on throughout the summer? And when will the president concede that his plan to let in anywhere from 40 million to 100 million immigrants into America stands absolutely no chance of passing in Congress?
Tonight, I spoke with New York congressman Peter King. He co-sponsored the House immigration bill. And I asked him about the impact of last nights stunning Republican primary victory in California.
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REP. PETER KING ®, NEW YORK: Joe, I think this is a very key turning point in the immigration debate. It was clear today among Republican House members that we believe Brian Bilbray won that election because of the strong stand he took against any type of amnesty or legalization, by his strong, unequivocal opposition to the Senate bill. Thats why he was reelected against areally, a terrible backdrop of Duke Cunninghams conviction, of, you know, Republican numbers being down. Everything was going against Brian. The main reason he won, apart from his own ability, is the stand he took on immigration. So...
SCARBOROUGH: Well, indeed, he not only saidhe took on immigration, but the stand he took against his own Republican president, against John McCain. He basically told the most powerful Republicans in Washington, D.C., to stick it, and voters rewarded him for that, didnt they.
KING: They really did. I mean, this should be a clear signal to the president, and to my good friend, John McCain, that the American people, certainly Republican voters, and I believe the independent voters and many Democrats, are absolutely opposed to any type of legalization of amnesty. Joe, in my district, which twice voted for Bill Clinton and once voted for Al Gore, overwhelminglyover 75 percent of the voters in my district are opposed to any type of amnesty. The message is clear: Secure the border first.
SCARBOROUGH: But the presidents claiming that you and other Republicans that are calling this amnesty are just trying to scare people out there, that youre not telling the truth.
KING: No, we are talking straight with the American people. This is amnesty. If you have people who are living in the country illegally and you tell them they can stay legally and ultimately become citizens, that is amnesty. They are getting an advantage. They are being allowed to stay in a country where they dont belong, where legally, theyre not entitled to be.
SCARBOROUGH: I dont get this. A poll comes upa Pew poll comes up that says 77 percent of Americans want to either freeze immigration levels or lower immigration levels -- 77 percent! Only, I think, 17 percent want immigration levels to increase. And yet this bill that the Senate and the president is pushing will increase levels by 40 million to 100 million new immigrants over the next couple of decades. Wheres the disconnect here? Why dont doesnt the White House get it? Why dont Republicans and Democrats in the Senate get it?
KING: Joe, I have never seen such a disconnect. But you know, I think some Democrats even get it. Those who are running for reelection this year in the Senate, you know, a number of them voted against the bill. And I know a number of Democrats in the House who may feel they have to vote for it, but they are not talking about this at all.
No, there is a totally disconnect between the political leadership in the Senate, between the president and the American people. The American peopleIve never seen an issue where they are so clearly on one side and you have the house of lords and the Senate being on the other side. This isI think this is the elite, this is the people who live in their own echo chamber, who say the same niceties to each other all day, but they dont speak for the American people. This is a separate class of people.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Thank you so much, Congressman Peter King.
The fight goes on. We appreciate you being with us.
KING: Thank you, Joe. Youre the fighter.
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