AIRBORNE FROM SAN ANTONIO EN ROUTE BROWNSVILLE---After Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) made a brief visit to the Mexican border following an event with Christian evangelicals in the border town of Brownsville, Obama made a very short stroll down the aisle in the campaign plane.
On wooing Hispanic voters:
"We seem to have consistently made inroads. The more people know about me and my track record. Obviously we've got a lot of catching up to do in Texas generally. But we seem to be making progress.
"My accent's always been good. It's just that I only know 15 words."
I asked him if he knew any foreign language. Obama has called for all students to learn a second language.
"Indonesian, which comes in handy for the vast Indonesian population."
On if he has ever been to the border
"I've been to the border in California, but not in Texas?"
"The issue is complex. Americans don't view it uniformly … Even along the Arizona border, people obviously have a very different opinion about the issue than along the Texas border. In dealing with each, you have to make sure you are talking to state officials … it doesn't negate the points that I made in Iowa. There is consistency between what I said in front of occasionally angry audiences in Iowa with what I'm saying here, which is we've got to have strong border security. We've got to crack down on employers and we're going to have to provide a pathway to citizenship as well as improve legal immigration and improve the Mexican economy to generate jobs.
I asked Obama how he planned to use his bully pulpit if president on immigration--something he said on Thursday he wanted to do.
"I think going over their heads of Congress to talk directly to the American people about how we can solve the problem."
On if he was connecting to Hispanic evangelicals
"it's always hard to gauge. We're always doing faith outreach in various venues. The hsianic evangelical movement is growing faster than just about any religious group. It just doesn't get a lot of attention to mainstream …
On things overall are going
"It's a tight race...."The Clintons are formidable."
A referene to the "red phone" ad in the news
"I haven't seen the ad."
I asked if he sees his ads.
"I read the script," he said.