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Weekly Remarks: Kit Bond on Gitmo, Obama on the economy

May 9, 2009 |  3:00 am

Here's The Ticket's usual Saturday morning collection of weekly remarks by a representative of the Republican Party and President Obama.We have videos of both men's remarks below.

Today's Republican is Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri, who talks about what he considers the administration's lack of preparedness in announcing the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility without plans on where to put the prisoners. The president chose to talk about the economy.

Republican Remarks by Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri

This is Missouri Senator Kit Bond. As the senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, I understand that protecting the American people is the government’s highest priority and most important responsibility.

And keeping our nation safe should not be a political issue, it’s an American one.

I hope my colleagues in Congress keep that in mind over the next couple of weeks as we debate the troop funding bill.

Guantanamo Bay – known as GITMO – doesn’t house middle-of-the-road, white-collar criminals. 

Missouri Republican Senator Kit Bond

Instead, this detainee facility houses deadly terrorists, including 9/11-mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

While President Obama has no plan for what to do with these killers, he has pledged to close the terrorist detention facility in January to fulfill a campaign promise.

This is a dangerous case of putting symbolism over security.

Or as I like to say – this is a classic example of a ‘READY, FIRE, AIM’ strategy.

When it comes to national security decisions, I prefer aiming before shooting, which is why I keep calling on President Obama to tell us, the American people, how his plan to close Guantanamo will make our nation safer.

The President needs to honor his pledge of transparency and provide the American people with answers.

I think the American people have a right to know exactly what the White House plans to do with these terrorists.

Americans also have a right to know if President Obama plans to send any of these terrorists to their communities.

Any plan must answer these questions: Where will these men go? And will that make America safer?

Now just last week the administration admitted that some of the terrorists....

...could be coming soon to a neighborhood near you. Defense Secretary Gates testified before Congress that as many as 100 Guantanamo detainees could be transferred to the United States.

Whether these terrorists are coming to a prison in Kansas, or a halfway house in Missouri, or any other state – I can tell you this:Americans don’t want these terrorists in their neighborhoods. 

That’s why when we put it to a vote, the Senate voted 94 to 3 against importing detainees to American soil – even if that meant to a maximum security prison.

Americans also don’t want to send these terrorists back to the battlefield to kill our troops. And, we know that terrorists detained at Guantanamo and released have gone back to the fight.

The Pentagon has confirmed that at least 18 detainees who were released have gone back to the fight.  And, 43 more are suspected of doing the same.

There are no easy solutions here. But, having no solution and moving forward with closing the prison at Guantanamo is a dangerous gamble with our security here at home and our troops abroad.

I, for one, am not willing to gamble with our national security.

Closing our terrorist-detention facility with no backup plan is one campaign promise that can’t hold up to national security realities.

While the President has made closing Guantanamo Bay a priority, the highest priority must be keeping America safe. Thank you for listening.    ###



Remarks of President Barack Obama, April 9, 2009:

Good morning. I want to briefly share some news about our economy, and talk about the work that we’re doing both to protect American consumers, and to put our economy back on a path to growth and prosperity.

This week, we saw some signs that the gears of America’s economic engine are slowly beginning to turn. Consumer spending and home sales are stabilizing. Unemployment claims are dropping and job losses are beginning to slow. But these trends are far from satisfactory. The unemployment rate is at its highest point in 25 years. We are still in the midst of a deep recession that was years in the making, and it will take time to fully turn this economy around.
The White House at Dawn
We cannot rest until our work is done. Not when Americans continue to lose their jobs and struggle to pay their bills. Not when we are wrestling with record deficits and an over-burdened middle class. That is why every action that my Administration is taking is focused on clearing away the wreckage of this recession, and building a new foundation for job-creation and long-term growth. 

This past week, we acted on several fronts. To restart the flow of credit that businesses and individuals depend upon, we completed an unprecedented review of the condition of our nation’s largest banks to determine what additional steps are necessary to get our economy moving. To restore fiscal discipline, we identified 121 programs to eliminate from our budget.

And to restore a sense of fairness to our tax code and common sense to our economy, I have asked Congress to work with me in closing the loopholes that let companies ship jobs and stash profits overseas – reforms will help save $210 billion over the next 10 years.

These important steps are just one part of a broad effort to get government, businesses and banks to act more responsibly, so that we are creating good jobs and making sound investments instead of spending recklessly and padding false profits. Because American institutions must act with the same sense of responsibility and fairness that the American people aspire to in their own lives.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in our credit card industry. Americans know that they have a responsibility to live within their means and pay what they owe. But they also have a right to not get ripped off by the sudden rate hikes, unfair penalties and hidden fees that have become all-too common in our credit card industry.

You shouldn’t have to fear that any new credit card is going to come with strings attached, nor should you need a magnifying glass and a reference book to read a credit card application. And the abuses in our credit card industry have only multiplied in the midst of this recession, when Americans can least afford to bear an extra burden.

It is past time for rules that are fair and transparent. That is why I have called for a set of new principles to reform our credit card industry. Instead of an “anything goes” approach, we need strong and reliable protections for consumers. Instead of fine print that hides the truth, we need credit card forms and statements that have plain language in plain sight, and we need to give people the tools they need to find a credit card that meets their needs. And instead of abuse that goes unpunished, we need to strengthen monitoring, enforcement and penalties for credit card companies that take advantage of ordinary Americans.

The House has taken important steps toward putting these principles into law, and the Senate is poised to do the same next week.

Now, I’m calling on Congress to take final action to pass a credit card reform bill that protects American consumers so that I can sign it into law by Memorial Day. There is no time for delay. We need a durable and successful flow of credit in our economy, but we can’t tolerate profits that depend upon misleading working families. Those days are over.

This economic crisis has reminded us that we are all in this together. We can’t prosper by putting off hard choices, or by protecting the profits of the few at the expense of the middle class. We are making steady progress toward recovery, but we must ensure that the legacy of this recession is an American economy that rewards work and innovation; that is guided by fairness and responsibility; and that grows steadily into the future. Thanks.    ###

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Photo: Office of Sen. Kit Bond; Ron Edmonds / Associated Press

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