Friday, July 4, 2008

McCain in Mexico City: More Fence

John McCain's brief hunt for Hispanic votes in Colombia and Mexico was dominated by the release of the FARC hostages. But in Mexico City few noticed that he reasserted his priority for security of the borders over comprehensive reform. He promised more fence first. (See Arizona Republic article.) It didn't seem to go down well with Mexicans, though his renewed support for the North American Free Trade Agreement -- at least by the conservative Calderon administration -- and his praise of the stepped-up campaign against the drug cartels were better received. Still it's quite a stretch between a visit to Tepeyac and the hearts of Latino voters. The Gallup poll puts McCain substantially behind Barack Obama -- 59% to 29%. The Republican candidate, most commentators suggest, will need about 4o% of the Latino vote to win -- about what George W. Bush got in 2004. (On the differences between McCain and Obama on Latin America see the Washington Post.)

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