Would the White House lie? Sure, they might lie about offering Sestak and Romanoff jobs in order to get them to quit the primaries. And they might lie about certain core planks of ObamaCare. And they might lie about the acceptability of nuclear weapons in the hands of Islamist rogue states. But surely they wouldn’t lie about a hugely damaging admission on a hot-button issue made during what they thought was a confidential conversation, would they?
This morning, a White House spokesman told ABC News that Kyl is lying. “The President didn’t say that and Senator Kyl knows it,” communications director Dan Pfeiffer told ABC. “There are more resources dedicated toward border security today than ever before, but, as the President has made clear, truly securing the border will require a comprehensive solution to our broken immigration system.”
Now, in an interview with KVOI radio in Arizona, Kyl says his account of the Oval Office conversation is accurate. “What I said occurred did occur,” Kyl said.
“One way you can verify the validity of what I said is that that’s exactly their position,” Kyl continued. “Some spokesman down at the White House said no, that isn’t what happened at all, and then proceeded to say we need comprehensive immigration reform to secure the border. That is their position, and all I was doing was explaining why, from a conversation with the president, why it appears that that’s their position.”
Mediaite has the transcript of the exchange about Kyl during today’s press briefing; Burton does indeed segue into ye olde talking points about the need for comprehensive reform after a short detour into cosmetic measures taken recently by the White House to secure the border.
There’s no record of Kyl’s conversation with Obama so there’s no way to tell which is lying. In fairness, given the strong support for border enforcement in Arizona and the fact that he’s up for re-election in two years, Kyl has plenty of incentive to draw flattering comparisons between himself and The One on immigration — especially since JK was a champion of the comprehensive approach himself as recently as 2007. If he wants to avoid a primary challenge, he needs to bank all the cred he can right now. But as I said last night, his account of the convo jibes with the way immigration policy is practiced, not only under Obama but under Bush. Democrats won’t give up their advantage with Latinos by committing to border security unless they get something in return. And Bush, Rove, and the GOP establishment wouldn’t cede any further advantage among Latinos to the left by clamping down on the border without amnesty to sweeten the pot. We’re stuck, unless and until the demand for fixing the border grows so intense and widespread among the public that it becomes a make-or-break issue in an election. But given the near-singleminded focus of most voters on the economy, what are the odds of that?
For your viewing pleasure, Megyn Kelly sets up Lou Dobbs for the slam dunk and he delivers. Exit question: Kyl’s probably not going to be invited for any more off-the-record chats with The One, is he?