May 31, 2007, 9:01PM
For Bush, fight over immigration bill is personal
By JULIE MASON
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau
President Bush sounded like he hoped to sever ties with the remaining 30 percent who like him when he went after critics in his party this week over opposition to his latest immigration plan.
"If you want to scare the American people, what you say is the bill's an amnesty bill," Bush said during a stop in Glynco, Ga. "That's empty political rhetoric, trying to frighten our citizens. "
It was his harshest public backhand yet to the conservative bloggers, commentators, politicians and CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, all gassing about how the bill amounts to amnesty.
"People shouldn't fear our capacity to uphold our motto, E Pluribus Unum," Bush told McClatchy Newspapers.
For Bush, the fight over immigration reform is a personal one — unlike Social Security or education reform, which were mostly political.
"I feel passionate about the issue. It's something I have felt strongly about ever since I was the governor of Texas," he said.
"Texas is a very diverse state, Houston is a very diverse city, and through that diversity, if you're open-minded, you get a great sense of how it invigorates the society," said Bush, a Houston resident in the 1960s and '70s.