June 17th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama responds to McCain camp on terrorist prosecution

(CNN) – Barack Obama responded to the McCain campaign’s Tuesday attack that putting terrorists from Guantanamo Bay on trial is “a policy of delusion,” noting last week's Supreme Court ruling that detainees would have the right to challenge their detention.

“The reason we set up Guantanamo is because the administration wanted to set up a black hole where there was no accountability whatsoever,” said Obama, flying back to Washington Tuesday for some time off the campaign trail. “The Supreme Court has now said you can’t do that. And as a consequence, the whole purpose of Guantanamo is defeated.”

Obama has applauded the Supreme Court’s decision that those held at Guantanamo Bay should be put on trial and in an interview with ABC on Monday, pointed to the prosecution of the terrorists responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

“If [the McCain campaign] wanted to have a serious conversation about it then they would know for example that the issue of Habeas Corpus is not designed to free prisoners,” Obama told reporters Tuesday. “What it’s designed to do is make sure that prisoners who are being held have at least one shot to say, “I’m being held wrongly.””

“We don’t have to treat them in the same way that we would treat a criminal suspect in the US,” Obama later added, “but we should abide by the Geneva Conventions.”

Obama accused the McCain camp of “fear-mongering” and argued that they haven’t offered up evidence that the country will be less secure as a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

McCain didn’t comment on the back-and-forth at his only campaign event Tuesday, but his campaign sent around a statement from Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

“Throughout this campaign, I have been very concerned that the Democrats want to take a step back to the failed policies that treated terrorism solely as a law enforcement matter rather than a clear and present danger,” Giuliani writes. “Barack Obama appears to believe that terrorists should be treated like criminals – a belief that underscores his fundamental lack of judgment regarding our national security and judgment necessary to protect the American people."


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Will

    McCain = Bush 2.0

    June 17, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  2. John Smith

    I just can't wait until McCain (Bush) gets into office. Was this not the type of debate that got George Bush to the White House on two occasions?

    Given that we know the RESULTS of that debate today, by all means, let us get MCain into the Oval office so that Bush can complete his mission!

    Good luck to the "bitter" Hillary supporters, I hope I never hear them complain about a McCain-Bush administration or policy!

    June 17, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  3. Venus

    Ha,ha,ha! I love it!

    Break the law down for them Obama!

    Yes we can!
    We are fired up and ready to beat McCain!

    June 17, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  4. David Goldman for OBAMA

    THERE HAVE BEEN MANY EXAMPLES OF THE

    ATROCITIES OF GUANTANAMO AND NONE, I THINK, ARE

    WHAT THIS NATION STANDS FORE. WHAT WE ARE DOING

    IS IMMORAL, ILLEGAL & AGAINST ALL RELIGIOUS &

    PERSONAL BELIEFS HELD BY THE MAJORITY OF THE

    AMERICAN PEOPLE. AND ALL OF US ARE COMPLICIT BY

    OUR OUR VOTE FOR THISADMINISTRATION &

    SUBSEQUENT SILENCE.

    THAT HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AS WELL.

    June 17, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  5. True Democrat

    If he's about change and hope, why will he not give those imprisoned for over 7 years in this unjust war the same rights of appeal as other human beings who are accused of crimes? Why should they be treated differently still?

    June 17, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  6. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA

    A PEOPLE INHERIT THE MORAL AND LEGAL

    ACTIONS OF THEIR ELECTED OFFICIALS,

    AS SOON AS THEY BECOME AWARE OF SUCH ACTIONS.

    THAT DEFINITELY PUTS ALL OF US IN A VERY BAD PLACE.

    WE HAVE BECOME THOSE WE HAVE LOATHED IN THE PAST.

    June 17, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  7. Who Cares

    Suppose a Gitmo resident obtains a writ of HC. Suppose he even successfully contests his detention. What do you think's going to happen to him? Extraordinary rendition (we'll call it "deporation" or "repatriation"). At best he'll wind up in a medieval dungeon in Afghanistan. Altho I have to admit, I hope after recent events the Afghanis take prison security a little more seriously.

    June 17, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  8. harry

    Obama thank you.
    America is becoming babaric.Holding people including the innocent.

    June 17, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  9. KAREN

    thank-you jesus; a quick repsone from team obama man; this stuff is hard to take. is this all that the right-wing and foxnews got going for them until november. these deviants will stoop to any level to maintain power.

    June 17, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  10. American Blue

    Does anyone know why these wretched people continue to post these nasty blogs about not voting for Senator Obama. Listen people! we don't care; if you are ignorant enough to forfeit your Democratic values in this critical election, who wants your vote anyway. Clearly you people are voting with your emotions and not your logic or your grasp of the issues. Therefore on the eve of having total Democratic power in Washington; meaning a majority Democratic congress and a Democratic President one would have to not actually be a Democrat, or an incredibly stupid Democrat to try and tank their own values out of spite. Posting these lame I will vote McSame arguments only serves to cast doubt on your political intelligence. Please cease in burdening the rest of US happy Dems with your stupidity.

    June 17, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  11. captain

    What a difference 8 years make.

    The 2000 version of John McCain would have lauded this decision, which clearly states that the president – any president – is not above the law.

    The 2008 model, however, feels he must throw red meat to that frothing wing of the Republican party that divides the nation into "conservatives" and "traitors."

    Everything that made McCain so appealing years ago, the thoughtfulness and independence, has been sacrificed at the altar of electoral ambition. We were never able to lump McCain in with the reactionary crowd – the "agents of intolerance" – of Limbaugh, Rove, Cheney, Coulter, et al. Now we can. How depressing.

    Courage and conviction? No way. Pandering of the most blatant sort? Yep.

    Has the small-minded wing of the GOP moved so far to the right that "the rule of law" is now considered merely a part of a liberal conspiracy?

    Thank you, Justice Kennedy, appointed by that well-known, flaming liberal, left-wing, America-hating traitor – RONALD REAGAN.

    June 17, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  12. harry

    I remember the days american persident use to have great respect all over the world.
    america has lost the credibility.

    June 17, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  13. steven

    IS IMMORAL, ILLEGAL & UNAMERICAN, Give them a Trail!

    June 17, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  14. annie

    obama doesn't have a clue what he is saying – he is so back & forth, I got dizzy reading this. Couple that with the fact he knows no American history he is a disaster waiting to happen.

    June 17, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  15. 58 old white ladies for OBAMA

    WE SHOULD KNOW WHO WE ARE

    WE HAVE LOST HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF

    AMERICAN LIVES FOR THE DEFENSE OF OTHERS

    AND THE PRINCIPALS WE HAVE ASPIRED TO.

    GUANTANAMO GOES AGAINST EVERYTHING WE

    THOUGHT WE ARE.

    June 17, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  16. Steve

    My faith in the common-law sense of the Supreme Court has been reaffirmed.

    June 17, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  17. annie

    To American Blue – for the people not worshipping your idol and not voting for him is because we would like to have someone with experience and qualifications and some knowledge of a working government and someone without a huge list of unsavory friends and mentors. WARNING SIGN! The way the demos have been going, who would want a majority demo congress and demo pres.

    June 17, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  18. Venus

    You can't hold people for years without charging them!!! Duh..

    Hey there American Blue poster..

    I agree with you! However, I don't believe some of these blogers really supported Hillary!

    If so, who cares at this point! They can join the team or leave the party because we are moving forward!

    The best thing to do is response to the poltical ticker and be done with it. They don't need any more of our time!

    June 17, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  19. sdl

    Exactly.

    June 17, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  20. kev

    wrong obama, we DO have to treat them as we do US criminals.

    “The reason we set up Guantanamo is because the administration wanted to set up a black hole where there was no accountability whatsoever.”

    no, since terrorist suspects were given the same rights as petty thieves during the 1993 world trade center trials, they had the right to discovery, which gave them access to private lists we had of co-conspirators, and they got knowlegde of how we were tracking terror suspects, including osama bin laden, which gave OBL knowledge of our operations and how to circumvent them.

    obama's just pandering, doing anything he can to differentiate himself from this administration, even when it's right. cnn, please, when you post these articles please give more background and educate people on the facts so they know how to read what they're reading.

    cnn only reports the "stories." it seems when i want the facts i have to go to fox news or headline news (subsidy of cnn). sad.

    June 17, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  21. dorothy

    That is understandable, how the Failed Bush Adminstration would say, and believe that, but we have laws to abide by. Think about it, we would not be in this situation today, if President Bush and his incompetent Adminstration, and all of the many Liars, that are no longer in his cabinet today. They all need to be Impeach. Where is the Real News.

    djg

    June 17, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  22. Mike

    Bush and McCain talk about security, they also talk about their wars. We invaded Iraq on a whim, we went into Afghanistan to get Bin Laden and have not succeeded. We have Bush and McCain taking bows but have we really accomplished anything. Afghanistan is ready to erupt again and eventually Iraq will do the same. The only thing that our President and his cloned nominee have given us is a huge debt, an increased profit to there corporate elite friends and a false sense of security. To all Americans it is time for America to change, to rid us of the corporate tyranny of the rich and make the majority of this country equal to the minority. Maybe people do not believe that Obama is the best choice but a vote for McSame is for same old government of the past 35 years.
    If you want change then Obama is your only choice.

    June 17, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  23. WoMeN4McCain

    Hillary your legacy is gonna be trash when McCAin wins. YOU WILL B E REMEMBERED AS THE ONE WHO MADE IT HAPPEN! You let us down, but no more! WE will show you in NOV!

    PUMA POWER!

    June 17, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  24. Kim

    McShame on you John. As a former POW you especially should be concerned with due process. That is what makes us right and them wrong. It is well known that some of the detainees were 'sold' to us by Afghan War Lords who were promised cash for terror 'suspects'. At least these hapless Afghan peasants should get to say their piece in court. Or are we just another crap third world country who treats the powerless people like dung?

    June 17, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  25. B. Churchill

    Hey Brian Knoxville – it's me. No it's me! I am Spartacus! No – it's me – I am Spartacus! Can't you see that your idiotic, infantile rants have had their inevitable effect – you have made yourself a buffoon and object of derision? Obviously, I'm not the only one who feels this way – but hey, at least you're famous, right? And isn't that what you really wanted?

    June 17, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
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