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O'Reilly throws his support behind immigration bill

It looks like the lobbying paid off.

Senators gained on Thursday what they clearly see as a crucial new ally in their quest to pass an immigration measure: Bill O'Reilly.

The Fox News host announced that, after the completion of a new Senate deal on border security, he was in favor of the bill's passage.

"It is time for the USA to pass immigration reform," he said. "For years I've called for a more secure southern border, you know that. And now it looks like the secure border is in reach. At least somewhat. So I hope this bill does become law."

The announcement comes on the heels of a New Yorkerpiece noting that Republican members of the Senate's Gang of Eight privately lobbied O'Reilly and other Fox News hosts, hoping their endorsement of the reform bill would improve its prospects.

Indeed, note that after O'Reilly threw his support to the Senate bill last night, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) issued a press release to trumpet the endorsement.

On a certain level, I'm hard pressed to imagine why it matters whether a conservative media personality endorses pending legislation or not, but if Fox's hosts are seen by the public as leading members of the Republican Party, it stands to reason that they'll not only be lobbied by senators, but that their pronouncements will carry some weight within the GOP.