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Is Bush ‘Out of Touch’ With GOP On Immigration?

One week after the President was met with dead silence at the Republican Party’s biggest annual fund-raising dinner when he mentioned his position on immigration, the question is being asked increasingly in GOP circles: Is George W. Bush out of touch with his party’s grass-roots mainstream on immigration when he calls for a guest worker program and the GOP wants border security?

"There was no applause whatsoever, and an awkward silence, in the five minutes [Bush] talked about immigration," Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R.-Calif.) told me on the day after the "President’s Dinner" at the Washington DC convention center June 19th. "This showed how out of touch he was with the Republican Party on this issue." Another guest at the dinner (which raised an estimated $25 million for the GOP’s election-year coffers), Colin Hanna agreed. "The polite silence from the strong supporters of the President demonstrated he’s out of touch with the grass-roots on this issue," said Hanna, head of the Pennsylvania-based "Let Freedom Ring, Inc."

When I discussed the issue with House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R.-Mo.) and mentioned the sharp differences between the immigration bill passed by the House and the Senate version (which the Administration favored), he told me: "We’re in no hurry to go to conference. This is an important issue and we need to produce the right results. In July and August, we’re going to look carefully at the Senate bill and the problem of illegal immigration itself."

At the White House press briefing this morning, I quoted Rohrabacher’s comments on the President’s remarks at the June 19th event and asked Press Secretary Tony Snow for his response.  "A) I wasn’t there and B) Congressman Rohrbacher has well-known views on this issue,” replied the President’s top spokesman. "

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John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on HumanEvents.com. Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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