Thursday, Mar. 01, 2007
By Massimo Calabresi / Washington
People say a lot of things on the campaign trail, but when Texas Governor George W. Bush stood before conservative Iowa crowds in 1999 and talked about the urgency of immigration reform, it was hard not to believe he was speaking from the heart. "Family values do not stop at the Rio Grande," he said back then, and the felicitous phrase became a touchstone of compassionate conservatism for his campaign and his presidency. For Bush, making immigration fair and safe "is a matter of very strong personal commitment," says his spokesman, Tony Snow.
Bush is about to get his last chance to prove that that commitment is real. Immigration reform stands out as the unfulfilled promise of the Bush presidency, and as Congress prepares to debate a compromise bill in the coming weeks, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate say Bush's help is crucial. "We're going to need Republican votes," says Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate majority leader Harry Reid. "And we're going to need the President."
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