Here is my advice to the administration, I will release a document with Senator Schumer about my views on how to fix immigration. The campaign is over, you told Senator McCain. President Obama, lead. You write a health care -- immigration reform bill. You do the heavy lifting. You put together a comprehensive immigration reform package. You bring it to the Senate and House and see how many Democrat and Republican supporters you can get.
All you have done is talk about what we should do, now is the time to lead. Tell the people at the rally next weekend that your administration will write a comprehensive immigration reform bill. I will be glad to look at it. If I like, I will sign on. If I oppose it, I'll tell you where I disagree. And see how many votes you can get.
TAPPER: To be fair, Senator Graham, the reason that immigration reform didn't pass last time, even with you, Senator McCain and President Bush pushing for it, was because of the Republican Party. The Republican Party seems in no --
GRAHAM: That's not fair.
TAPPER: Why is that not fair?
GRAHAM: That's not fair at all.
TAPPER: Even Republican members who are part of the coalition voted against it.
GRAHAM: I can show you 10 Democrats in the Senate today who voted against immigration reform: Tester, Baucus, Bayh, Webb --
TAPPER: And how many Republicans voted against it?
GRAHAM: It was a bipartisan --
GRAHAM: A lot of us voted for it. We got over 60 votes at one time. It fell apart because the bill was attacked from the left and the right.
Senator Obama was part of the deal to create the bill. He was in the photo op. When it got to the floor, he introduced an amendment to sunset the temporary worker bill, which was -- temporary worker program -- which was part of an overall deal. And as you remember, my views of him were not very good at that time.
He undercut the grand bargain. There's plenty of blame to go around. If you want to look forward, you've got to look forward with the reality. If they jam through health care, through the House, and try to use a trick or a gimmick called reconciliation, which is playing with 12 people on the field if it were a football game, you're going to have a hard time convincing Democrats or Republicans to do the hard things because you've poisoned the well.
There will be a price to be paid to jam a bill through, the American people don't like, using a sleazy process.
TAPPER: OK, I hear what you're saying. But let me ask you a question. You are without question trying to work across the aisle, trying to work with Democrats.
GRAHAM: As hard as I can.
TAPPER: I don't see a lot of Republicans behind you. And in fact, if you look at the Republicans who have tried, in the past, to work in a bipartisan fashion, Florida Governor Charlie Crist, Utah Senator Bob Bennett, you, Senator McCain, you're all under attack in your home states from conservatives.
Why should any Republican follow your lead if they have an ounce of self-preservation?
GRAHAM: Well, why should Blanche Lincoln try to work with us?
Why should Joe Lieberman try to help President Bush?