But his real gaffe was his comment on day labor centers.
According to the Washington Post article:
Webb accused Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress of failing to secure the borders, making the day labor centers a necessary step for local governments.
As I noted over at BVBL's site, there are several problems with this answer. First is the obvious -- most Virginians are opposed to day labor centers. Even Herndon, which embraced the idea, are now having second thoughts. Prince William County wouldn't touch day labor centers with a 10-foot-pole.
Second, the suggestion that sealing the borders on January 21, 2001 (the day Bush took office) would have eliminated all illegal immigrants in Virginia is laughable. And given that his Democratic Party opposes sealing the borders, wants to offer amnesty to most of the people here illegally now, and to offer a virtually unlimited guest worker program, it's hard to see how his blaming republicans for not "sealing the border" can be taken seriously.
But third is the true gaffe. Look back again at what Webb said -- he said that we needed day labor centers BECAUSE we didn't secure our borders. Since we have illegal immigrants, who are here because of the republicans not securing our borders, we need day labor centers.
BUT -- the argument for day labor centers was to give a place for LEGAL IMMIGRANTS to get work. They are NOT supposed to get work for illegal immigrants (although the organizations pushing the centers clearly cater to both legal and illegal immigrants). In debates on day labor centers, the need for legal immigrants to have access to good-paying day labor jobs is cited as the reason for opening day labor centers, NOT to help illegals.
Webb essentially says here that people using day labor centers are all illegal immigrants that he wishes were not here, but that are only here because of the evil republicans who didn't keep them out.
How do the legal immigrants and citizens of Virginia feel about Webb saying they are all illegal immigrants here only because republicans didn't "secure the border"? If a republican said this, we'd already have 5 articles in the Washington Post about how we were anti-hispanic.
Well, do you think the hispanic community won't pick up on Webb saying they are unwelcome interlopers, criminals here only because of the failure of republicans to keep them out?
That's what Webb said tonight in his answer about Day Labor centers.
UPDATE: I listened to Webb's answer again, and I'm not absolutely sure the Washington Post characterization of his answer is totally accurate (no surprise I guess). I'll try to get the transcript, and do another update.