McCain Faces Townhall Anger Over Immigration

On the same day he got a first call from President Obama on pending immigration legislation, Sen. John McCain got an earful from conservative Arizonans back home.

In one video captured by ABC's Phoenix affiliate KNXV an angry questioner yells at McCain, "You said 'build the dang fence'. Where's the fence?"

That's a reference to McCain's 2010 ad during a Republican primary where he tells an Arizona sheriff to " build the dang fence" to protect the border.

U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., listens to a question during a town hall, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, in Sun Lakes, Ariz. Image credit: Matt York/AP Photo

McCain's response, in which he's pointing at a map and clearly needs some more context, goes like this: "It's not a fence, it's a banana. We've put up a banana with about $600,million worth of appropriations we have."

At one point during the townhall, McCain told a man who identified himself as a former police officer that he was being "a jerk."

Immigration is a key issue in McCain's Arizona. He was an advocate for comprehensive reform during failed 2006 and 2007 efforts, but he de-emphasized the issue during his bid for the White House in 2008. And he seemed to turn away from a comprehensive bill with a pathway to citizenship during his 2010 Senate reelection bid.

He is now among the group of eight senators hashing out a new comprehensive compromise. Republicans in the group would include a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, but they would make it contingent on border security benchmarks.

HERE is KNXV's report on McCain's Tuesday townhall. He's got another planned for today.