The U.S. Senate's compromise immigration bill offers something for everyone to hate, including presidential candidates forced to confront the divisive issue.




Unlike the war in Iraq, which separates lawmakers mainly along party lines, immigration fractures Republican and Democratic ranks from within: splitting business interests from social conservatives, dividing labor from Hispanic groups.




"The issue is fraught with danger," said John Anzalone, a Democratic pollster. "It's one where it's tough to please everybody within your base or coalition."




For that reason, perhaps, the only major candidate who embraced the bipartisan proposal announced Thursday was Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., &

which was not surprising, given his role in helping negotiate the agreement.




However, McCain's decision to step off the campaign trail and appear at a Capitol Hill press conference with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., raised more than a few GOP eyebrows.




"The American people want solutions to major problems," said John Weaver, a McCain strategist. "He's running for president to do the tough things, and he's doing them now."




New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson also praised the immigration bill.




"This legislation makes a good start toward resecuring our southern border,' Richardson said Friday.




But, like other Democratic candidates, he expressed concern about a temporary worker program and rules governing family unification.




Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., offered a cautious, wait-and-see response.




"I will scrutinize carefully the proposed compromise to see if it honors our nation's principles and proud immigrant heritage, while also respecting the rule of law," Clinton said.




Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani offered no direct comment. Rather, the GOP presidential hopeful reiterated his support for tough border enforcement and establishment of a tamper-proof ID and nationwide immigrant database "so that we can make the determination of who's good, who's average, and who's bad." Then, he said, "I can see a lot of flexibility" for bipartisan negotiations on broader legislation.




Many other candidates condemned the compromise.




The Senate agreement "falls short of the actions needed to both solve our country's illegal immigration problem and also strengthen our legal immigration system," said Republican former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Arkansas' former GOP Gov. Mike Huckabee said the bill "offers amnesty" to the country's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants and undercuts "those who are patiently following the rules to become citizens."




Former Republican Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee, who is weighing a run for president, said lawmakers "should scrap this bill and the whole debate until we can convince the American people that we have secured the borders, or at least have made great headway."




On the Democratic side, former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina joined criticism of the legislation's guest-worker provision.




"We're not there yet," he said of the Senate compromise. "We need to get this done right."




Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., expressed concern the compromise bill would "devalue the importance of family reunification, replace the current group of undocumented immigrations with a new undocumented population ... and potentially drive down wages of American workers."




Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., also voiced concern about the temporary worker provision and "the abandonment of family reunification," referring to a narrowing of the rules allowing immigration.




And on Friday the conservative blogosphere and talk radio were full of criticism and indignation.




Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk radio host, said the proposal was "worse than doing nothing."




On the home page of GOPUSA, a conservative Web site, visitors were urged to "tell your senators to vote against the amnesty bill!"