John McCain was excited. It was late January, and the following day, he and a group of bipartisan senators were set to announce their framework for comprehensive immigration reform. He picked up the phone and called an old friend in Arizona.

"We got it yep, yep," McCain said, according to Grant Woods, who detected a long-lost measure of energy in the Republican's voice.

The next morning McCain called Woods again: "We're going over there," the senior senator from Arizona said, referring to the Capitol Hill unveiling. "It's going to be good."