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John McCain tosses a microphone to a questioner -- and hears plenty

July 14, 2008 |  3:21 pm

It was one of those unscripted moments that pleases crowds and -- who knows? -- maybe even earns votes.

At the end of his prepared speech to the National Council of La Raza, John McCain took a few questions from audience members. Then, a disembodied woman's voice announced that the question period was over and the senator had to leave.

McCain could see there was someone who really, really, really wanted to ask a question, but the woman holding the mike refused to hand it over because, hey, the Q-and-A period was finished.

McCain, who looked a little frustrated himself, did not apologize and leave. Instead, he tossed his own wireless microphone from the stage down to the man. The crowd went wild, and many kept cheering when they saw who caught the mike: Enrique Morones, founder of the Border Angels, the pro-immigrant answer to the Minutemen.

"When your forefathers came," Morones said, "everyone was welcome at Ellis Island. You are supporting the militarization of the border that has killed more than 10,000 people. Will you commit to stopping the inhumane raids? Will you issue an executive order to stop these raids that are taking place right now?"

McCain did not answer directly, but as he did with a couple of other questions, reiterated that as a border senator, he knows about the dangers of illegal crossings. But, he added, "The United States of America has to have secure borders, sir.... But we can address this issue in a humane and compassionate fashion. I am committed to that. If you don't think we have to secure our borders, then we disagree, and I respect your view."

-- Robin Abcarian