Now, no better authority than Governor Romney believed that it's not amnesty because two years ago, he was asked, and he said that my plan was, quote, "reasonable, and was not amnesty."
It's a matter of record.
SPRADLING: Governor, you want to explain your ad?
ROMNEY: Yes, absolutely, which is what he describes is technically true, which is his plan does not provide amnesty because he charges people $5,000 to be able to stay.
ROMNEY: And that, technically...
MCCAIN: That's not true. That's not complete response to it.
And, Governor Romney, it was explained to you and you said it was reasonable and not amnesty. You can look it up.
ROMNEY: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Let me have a chance.
ROMNEY: Rudy, let me have a chance to finish, OK? Then you'll get your chance.
I saw your plan, along with Senator Cornyn's plan and the Bush plan; I said they were all reasonable. And I said I would study them and decide which one to endorse, and I endorsed none of them, as you know, Senator.
Number two, your plan, I said, is not technically amnesty because it provides for a penalty for people to be able to stay...
MCCAIN: It provides for more than a penalty.
ROMNEY: OK. Would you describe what else it has, besides a penalty?
MCCAIN: Sure. Fine, learn English, back of the line behind everybody else -- pretty much what Rudy just described.
ROMNEY: OK, great. So it has a...
MCCAIN: So that we can address the issue.
ROMNEY: Fine. Unless you pay $5,000...
MCCAIN: It's not amnesty. And for you to describe it as you do in the attack ads, my friend, you can spend your whole fortune on these attack ads, but it will won't be true.
(UNKNOWN): May I...
ROMNEY: No, no, no, no. I get a chance to respond to this.
I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
ROMNEY: I don't describe your plan as amnesty in my ad. I don't call it amnesty.
What I say is -- and you just described what most people would say is a form of amnesty. Yes, they pay $5,000, their background is checked, they have to learn English.
But your view is everybody who's come here illegally today, other than criminals, would be allowed -- when they speak English and get $5,000 payment and they get a background check, they're allowed to stay forever.
MCCAIN: Look, I don't...
ROMNEY: That's your plan, and that plan, in my view, is not appropriate.
Those people should be invited to get in line outside the country with everybody else who wants to come here, but they should not be given a special right to stay here...
MCCAIN: There is no special right associated with my plan.
ROMNEY: ... for the rest of their lives.
MCCAIN: I said should they should not be in any way rewarded for illegal behavior.
ROMNEY: Are they sent home?
MCCAIN: They have to get in line behind everybody else.
ROMNEY: Are they sent home? Are they sent home?
MCCAIN: Some of them are, some of them are not depending on their situation.
ROMNEY: The last bill you put forward...
MCCAIN: If a woman who has been here for eight years...
ROMNEY: I'm sorry -- the last bill...
MCCAIN: ... and has a son fighting in Iraq...
ROMNEY: Senator, the last bill you put forward...
MCCAIN: ... I'm not interesting in calling her up, calling up her son and telling I'm deporting his grandmother.
This has to be...