'This Week' Transcript: Sen. John McCain and Sen. Robert Menendez

MCCAIN: That has to be also part of it. But from my perspective, also -- and I'm sure that Senator Menendez understands, as Senator Schumer and Durbin do, that my state, most of the drugs now coming across the Mexican border into the United States comes through -- across the Arizona-Sonora border. So border enforcement, also, is a very important aspect of this. We have made progress on border enforcement. There has been significant improvements. But we've still got a ways to go. But I'm confident, guardedly optimistic, that this time we can get it done.

RADDATZ: Citizenship is obviously the most controversial aspect for some of your Republican colleagues, and you've gone back and forth. In 2005, you were for it. By 2010, you wanted border security first and, quote, "certainly no amnesty," so you're solidly behind a pathway to citizenship. How do you convince some of those Republicans who are not behind it?

MCCAIN: Well, first of all, I've always been for border security. I mean, there are citizens in my state who do not live in a secure environment. We live in a pretty secure environment here, certainly in the Senate. We've got guards around and everything. There's people every night in the part -- in the southern part of my state that have drug-traffickers and people going across, the guns, that...

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: So how do you convince Republicans about the path to citizenship?

MCCAIN: Well, look, I'll give you a little straight talk. Look at the last election. Look at the last election. We are losing dramatically the Hispanic vote, which we think should be ours, for a variety of reasons, and we've got to understand that.

Second of all, this -- we can't go on forever with 11 million people living in this country in the shadows in an illegal status. We cannot forever have children who were born here -- who were brought here by their parents when they were small children to live in the shadows, as well.

So I think the time is right. By the way, we just acted to avert a nuclear option in the Senate. Believe it or not, I see some glimmer of bipartisanship out there.

RADDATZ: But how about -- we've got President Obama out this week also pushing a plan.

MCCAIN: Yes.

RADDATZ: Does that help, hurt?

MCCAIN: I think it helps. I think it's important that we all work together on this. I think it can be helpful, and I look forward to sitting down. I'm sure we will, the group of us who are working on this legislation, with the president and the White House and our colleagues on the other side of the Capitol.

RADDATZ: I want to move to Benghazi, obviously, the hearings this week. Some very contentious part of those hearings. What were you really trying to accomplish in that? You knew a lot of the answers. All the senators knew a lot of the answers because of the Accountability Review Board. So what were you looking for there?

MCCAIN: Well, first of all, we don't know a lot of the answers. We don't know why the president and the secretary of state ignored the warnings. Why didn't the secretary of state, who said she was, quote, "clear-eyed" about it, not see the -- the cable that came on August 15th that said the consulate cannot stand a sustained attack on the consulate? Why wasn't Department of Defense assets there? Seven hours that went on? Two of these people who were killed...

RADDATZ: Some of those questions were answered in the...

MCCAIN: What's that?

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