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McCain, Graham Positive After Immigration Meeting With Obama

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
Graham said he was encouraged by his Tuesday meeting at the White House on changes to immigration policy.

Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain returned to the Capitol from their White House meeting with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. more encouraged about the prospects for an immigration overhaul.

The duo declined to discuss the specifics of their conversation, but were broadly appreciative of the president for reaching out.

Its one of the best meetings Ive ever had with the president, Graham told reporters. Sen. McCain made a strong point about the border, and the president understands the working components of it, so I was quite frankly encouraged. I think well have presidential leadership in a very productive way on immigration reform, and with that, weve got a very good chance of doing it this year.

The South Carolina lawmaker said the president showed he would be flexible.

He committed himself and his office to be helpful, and I believe him. Graham said. He wants to be a helpful entity here. ... I couldnt have been more pleased.

McCain declined to say whether Obama gave ground on the key question of whether a pathway to citizenship would be tied to border enforcement, but the Arizona Republican said the president understands the parameters of what were dealing with.

McCain said Obama wants a bill he can sign, not just a political issue.

I believe that the president is very committed to comprehensive immigration reform. Now, does that mean hes committed to anything we do? No, he has his positions on the issue as well.

When asked whether Obama understands the border security issues McCain said, I am more confident after our conversation today.

McCain said that other issues were discussed as well but declined to give details.

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.

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