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Special to CNN
Watching Barack Obama hold separate Q&A's with members of Congress - House Republicans last week, Senate Democrats this week - has its ups and downs
On the one hand, I was impressed with how Obama took on his ideological adversaries in the House, challenging them to keep an open mind and making them seem like crybabies for wanting to set the national agenda even though they keep losing elections.
Yet, on the other, I was depressed at how he squandered a meeting Wednesday with his former Democratic Senate colleagues, who are as blinded by partisanship and intent on putting their interest ahead of their constituents' as anyone in Washington.
Outside the Beltway, Obama likes to play the role of the centrist who wrings his hands over how both parties behave in Washington. He casts himself as the outsider mystified by the way in which the hard-liners oversimplify tough problems and approach every issue in terms of all or nothing. Bashing both parties sells.
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Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Special to CNN
Friday's new unemployment figures will underscore the fact that millions of Americans are either out of work or afraid they could end up that way.
Those who live in or near the town of Bellingham, Washington, the site of the Obama administration's first (and immigrant activists hope, last) workplace raid, can't be pleased to find out that they now have to compete with a couple dozen additional laborers who they assumed had been taken out of the country.
The workers were among the 28 suspected illegal immigrants who were rounded up in what looked like a standard operation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in a February 24 raid on the Yamato Engine Specialists, an auto parts plant in Bellingham.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/10/29/navarrette.immigration/art.navarrette.jpg caption="Ruben Navarrette says John McCain has been a positive force on the immigration issue."]
Nationally syndicated columnist
Thanks to the immigration issue, many Latinos think of Democrats as the good guys and Republicans as the bad guys. It's an attitude that spells trouble for John McCain.
But it isn't that simple, and this election proves it. McCain - a Republican - risked his political career to pursue comprehensive immigration reform, while Barack Obama - a Democrat - was late to the issue and made some bad choices once he stepped into the debate.
I understand the larger argument. As I have written on many occasions, when Republicans ran Congress, they bungled immigration reform by clinging to an enforcement-only strategy, declaring English the national language, and ignoring anti-Latino racism.
Then, after claiming they were only against "illegal" immigration, Republicans tried to limit the number of Latino immigrants who come legally by abandoning family reunification as a principle of U.S. immigration policy.
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