Josh Gerstein at Politico reports:
Sparks flew between two of Arizona’s most prominent political figures in Washington, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, during a Senate hearing Wednesday.
At a Homeland Security Committee session on counterterrorism efforts, McCain accused Napolitano of having reversed her stand on immigration-related issues when compared with the positions she took as Arizona’s governor just a couple of years ago.
“There’s an old saying….on policy, it’s not where you stand it’s where you sit,”said McCain, who is up for re-election in November.
McCain quoted from a 2008 letter Napolitano wrote to her predecessor at Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, criticizing the federal government for not securing the border. The senator contrasted that with comments Napolitano made recently dismissing Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s request for national guard troops, her agency’s policy proposals to limit immigration arrests in connection with traffic stops, and the Obama Administration’s lawsuit against Arizona over that state’s controversial immigration control law.
“What in the world is going on here?” McCain asked as the prickly exchange began.
“Where I sit has not changed my position,” Napolitano insisted. “Clearly, you have,” McCain shot back.
“No. I disagree, Mister–Senator,” Napolitano maintained. She said some of the reported ICE policy changes were not true and she said border conditions had improved under the Obama Administration.
McCain said his constituents living along the border disagreed. “They don’t see this dramatic improvement, Madam Secretary. In fact, they’re more worried than they’ve ever been,” he said. “They don’t have the same security that people do in other parts of our country.”
“I measure what we are doing by the results and by the numbers and what should be going up is going up and what should be going down is going down,” Napolitano declared.
Fox News has more on the exchange here.