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Kyl Stands by Obama Immigration Meeting Account

Monday, 28 Jun 2010 03:58 PM

Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona angrily rejects the notion that he's "walked back" his account of a meeting on immigration reform with President Barack Obama, according to The Hill.

Kyl will tell Fox News tonight that he stands entirely behind his characterization of a meeting with Obama in which the senator described the president as threatening not to bolster border security until Republicans sign onto a comprehensive immigration reform bill providing illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.

“Yes, what I said was exactly accurate," Kyl said in an interview to air this evening on Fox News' "Special Report." "That is precisely what he said to me. People misinterpreted what I meant by it, but what I said was accurate.”
The Arizona Republican, the second-ranking member in the Senate, denied that he had changed his story after he said in an interview last week that his remarks — particularly talking about how border security had been held "hostage" — were "taken a bit out of context."

“I didn’t walk anything back," Kyl said Monday. “People read into what I said, something that I didn’t say. What I said was exactly what the president told me and I stand by it.”

The White House seized on the interview in which he'd seemed to have walked back his original story on Friday, according to The Hill. "Well, I guess this finally settles it..." White House press secretary Robert Gibbs tweeted, including a link to a story about Kyl backtracking on his account.

Kyl said that if anything had been misconstrued, it was his words about border security being "held hostage."

"In other words, these are now my words, they —not referring to anyone in particular — are holding hostage the securing of the border for comprehensive reform," Kyl said in describing his initial account. “Immediately people read into that, that I was accusing the president in basing his policies today on a, I gather personal view of his, that we shouldn’t do one without the other. Now, that is his view, I am firmly convinced of that but I was not making a charge or an allegation against him. People read into that.”

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