“Cut off their welfare and all their stuff and they’ll go back!”
That’s what Arizona resident Keith Smith told John McCain at a town hall meeting on Tuesday. And he wasn’t done there.
“You said build the dang fence! Where’s the fence?”
When McCain turned around to point at a graph, the man quickly shouted out, “That’s not a fence.” A slightly smug McCain shot back, “It’s a banana. We’ve putten up a banana with about $600 million dollars worth of appropriations.”
The Associated Press has more on McCain’s response, as well as the audience members:
“There are 11 million people living here illegally,” he said. “We are not going to get enough buses to deport them.”
Some audience members shouted out their disapproval.
One man yelled that only guns would discourage illegal immigration. Another man complained that illegal immigrants should never be able to become citizens or vote. A third man said illegal immigrants were illiterate invaders who wanted free government benefits.
McCain urged compassion. “We are a Judeo-Christian nation,” he said. McCain’s other town hall meeting took place in Green Valley, south of Tucson.
Photographers captured some of the heated exchange (Smith is shown in the second picture):
AZCentral.com posted a news roundup that also included video of the confrontation:
“I think he doesn’t want the American people to stand up and ask him the tough questions and hold his feet to the fire, and I’m one of those people,” Smith told the outlet after.
As for McCain, he took a shot at the reporter, saying the journalist was trying to create controversy by asking about the tension. The reporter’s response?
“This was a very rough town hall meeting,” he said. “A lot of Republicans in that room clearly did not care for immigration reform.”