Bush Turns Attention Back to Immigration

Fresh from his trip to Europe, President Bush turns his attention on June 12, 2007, to his troubled immigration bill.

The bill is stalled in the Senate, so the president will pay a visit to Capitol Hill to meet with republican senators.

On his first day back from Europe, the president will make a personal plea on Capitol Hill - trying to convince fellow Republicans to support immigration reform. It’s a pitch he’s been working on, in phone calls to several senators from Air Force One and earlier on the ground in Bulgaria.

“We’ve made two steps forward on immigration, we took one step back and now I’m gonna work with those who are focused on getting an immigration bill done and start taking some steps forward again. I believe we can get it done. I’ll see you at the bill signing,” Bush said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would re-introduce the failed legislation, but first it’s up to the president to first get Republicans on board.

“I want him to know that further progress will require active support from more Republicans which is something he has to make sure his Republicans understand,” Reid said.

That will be a challenge - with an unpopular war and low poll numbers of his own - one the president may not be up to.

“Democrats need to help him do that, not continue on a partisan attack that leaves him really naked to this right wing that he has to worry about that is never going to understand why he is taking the stand he is on immigration,” said Lanny Davis, former White House counsel.

Some Republican senators said the president should stay out of the debate, even calling his comments unhelpful. The president heads to Capitol Hill on the afternoon of June 12.

Every week Congressional Republicans gather for lunch on Tuesdays. That’s where the president is meeting with them and he brought along some support - Vice President Dick Cheney.