June 22nd, 2007
04:51 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney: Closing Guantanamo 'wrong course'

Romney said Friday he is against the idea of closing Guantanamo.

(CNN) – Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney said Friday the Bush administration is wrong for looking at ways to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, calling the idea “the wrong course to take”.

Romney told reporters in Helena, Montana, “Guantanamo Bay plays an important role in protecting our nation from violent, heinous terrorists.”

The former Massachusetts governor said, “I hope the administration does not take the course which is being contemplated.” And singling out John McCain supporting shutting down the facility, Romney said, “I think Guantanamo is a symbol of our resolve.”

Romney said detainees should not have access to lawyers or to U.S. constitutional rights, saying “they are terrorists.”

“I do not want to see those prisoners transferred to United States soil,” he said. “I do not want to see the legal system in this country potentially opened up to terrorists and feel we’re better keeping Guantanamo in place. And if we need additional space, why, we should be expanding Guantanamo.”

At a presidential debate in May, Romney said, “My view is, we ought to double Guantanamo.”

At Friday’s White House briefing, spokeswoman Dana Perino said no resolution on closing Guantanamo Bay was imminent, saying “that while the president has said that we want to make sure that we close this facility as quickly as possible, he's not put a deadline on it because there are complex issues. We have to make sure that we handle it appropriately.”

She said a meeting scheduled on Guantanamo Bay was canceled after an Associated Press report said a deal was close, but Perino said, “the meeting was going to be focusing on doing what the president has asked them to do for the past few years, which is work to get the facility closed. I think that report was overblown. There was not an imminent decision made. There's no deadline. It was just a regular meeting.”

While stopping short of promising a resolution, Perino said the administration’s goal for Guantanamo’s ultimate future is clear. “It has been a firm decision”, she said, “The president gave a firm decision two years ago, in which he said "I want this place closed"; that the United States should not be the world's jailers. Those are his words.”

- CNN Political Desk Manager Steve Brusk

Filed under: Mitt Romney
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Romulus, Rochester, MN

    It's time to kick the mindless, souless, egotistical politicians out of office and reinstate humane treatment for all people instead of pushing nukes down their throats and electrodes up their butts. We may claim our goals are different from other countries that we dispise but in many if not most cases the results are the same. We are responsible for as much human misery and death as any other nation.

    June 22, 2007 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  2. Carol-Brooklet,GA

    Mitt Romney may very well have my vote. Guantanamo Bay must stay open. We must not turn soft on this issue. Neither these enemy combatants, nor any illegals be able to utilize our justice system to their advantage.

    June 22, 2007 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  3. Jay K, Oxford, MS

    Whatever happened to "innocent until proven guilty"? I know they are enemy combatants, or terrorists, or pirates, or whatever you want to call them, but if we want to spread democracy around the world, then we need to show them how it's done.

    June 22, 2007 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  4. David from Seattle, WA

    Hey, Mitt.

    Nobody is buying that "violent, heinous terrorists" crap anymore.

    You are the terrorist because you are trying to make everyone scared.

    I have nothing to fear but your fearmongering.

    June 22, 2007 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  5. E. Elliott, Orlando, FL

    Close Gitmo, they are not doing anything useful in the war on terrorism there. Capture the bad guy, yes. Interogate him, sure – just use methods that you would want used on your children if they were charged with a crime. Have a trial – charges need only be that the suspect was captured bearing arms out of a uniform or in posession of explosives. It would take all of ten minutes. Then hang them, quickly. No guts or honesty in this White House, just snear and snarl.

    June 22, 2007 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  6. Richard Minneapolis MN

    Mitt Romney misses the point entirely: The purpose of our legal system is to determine whether people are guilty of any crime, including terrorism, and then to either release them or punish them according to their guilt. Keeping the detainees at guantanamo out of court not only prevents them from confronting the evidence against them it also keeps the innocent in prison unnecessarily and prevents appropriate punishment for the guilty.

    June 22, 2007 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  7. Sean, Port Richey, Fl.

    Keep on workin' that Ultra-Right constituency Mitt!

    June 22, 2007 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  8. Mark, Lavallette, NJ

    Mitt Romney is a reactionary of the worst type, a politician who uses the public's fears to expand executive power.

    June 22, 2007 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  9. O. Amaro, Alhambra, CA

    Well, being that intelligence is not a requirement for the office (as made evident by our current President) than neither should height.

    June 22, 2007 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  10. Al, New Cumberland, PA

    The whole point was to use Gitmo as a sheild from the US judicial system. Well, the courts have struck most of that down.

    Should we keep it around just to proce a point? That is dumb, and way too political for a guy trying to cast himself as a great manager.

    June 22, 2007 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  11. Shawnie Cannon, Grants Pass OR

    I'm unclear on this issue. How is it decided who goes to Guantanamo Bay? On one hand, all our dysfunctional, overcrowded court systems' need is non-citizens using up resources we don't have enough of. On the other hand, how did we end up with these people, and what kind of crimes get them there? What kind of problems are and are not solved by sending people to Guantanamo Bay. And please, just polite, knowledgeable replies.

    June 22, 2007 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  12. L. Larsson

    Guantanamo is not a symbol of our resolve; it is a symbol of our viciousness. Romney, as president, would simply be more of what we have now. It is time to turn the page.

    June 22, 2007 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  13. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Too late, Mitt. Today Bush says Laura and Bar want him to close it because it makes us look bad, and if he doesn't, Virginia Congressman Jim Moran is charged by his leadership with doing it.

    June 22, 2007 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  14. Andrew Rivera Portland, Oregon

    Mitt will say anything to get elected as he has shown in the past weeks. This man does not have an ounce of integrity. I wonder how he would react to torture? He looks like a coward, a man that hasn't worked an honest day in his life. I would love to see how tough these guys really are.

    June 22, 2007 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  15. Justin Steven Ogden, Utah

    Andrew do you even know what your talking about or are you just one of those people that talk out of there butt just like the espn news commercials. You act like you know what your saying but you have no idea. Mitt has probably worked harder than you ever have. But you probably don't understand the concept of leadership. It's not as easy as the laborers like to think. I know you are a laborer cause they love to talk and so do you.

    June 23, 2007 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  16. Pete Tarpon Springs, FL

    If at this point we have not gotten any useful information from these "insert word of the day" we never will. Return them to their country of origin and let them handle it. Try and convict them and execute the sentence, just do something. Quit embarrassing the USA with fear mongering and these barbaric ways. “We the People”, are tired and annoyed of the Washington lies, the ineptness of those running our country and the blame everyone but me, poll driven candidates for office.

    June 23, 2007 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  17. Barry Levy Miami, Fl.

    Decisions,Decisions (if the shoe fits...)
    I'm in a dilemma, I'm looking at
    flip flops & I'm having a problem deciding between two styles:
    John Kerry's or Mitt Romney's
    Which do you think fit better ?

    June 23, 2007 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  18. Anonymous

    Good post Andrew...agree with you 100%.

    I can read Mitt like a 2 page book. He is a scam artist, that will say anything to get votes.

    Indeed he is pandering to the far right, trying to get votes.

    I can see right through your hollow words Mitt...can't fool me.

    June 23, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  19. Shawnie Cannon, Grants Pass OR

    Guantanamo Bay (also known as Gitmo) started detaining terrorist suspects and enemy combatants in 2002. 775 people have been brought to this camp. 340 have been released, another 110 have been labeled as ready for release. 70 have trial processes started and the amount of remaining people in question is 250.

    In official war, it is acceptable and common practice for prisoners of war to be kept until the war is over, otherwise they jump back in and kill more of your men. The controversy with Gitmo and terrorist detainment is there isn't an official war, they don't wear a uniform.

    The quandry is, what happens when you release people who are committed to terrorism?

    If I had a brother, or a spouse or child that died in 9/11, or any other type of suicide/terroist attacks, how would that feel to know there is no facility or recourse for such crimes? They are not US citizens, they don't go through our legal system, their own governments either are not equipped to handle them or sympathize with their holy war.

    The war on terror is real, and new plots to bomb or attack are uncovered frequently. Detaining those who are fanatical about destroying us, until the world can get a handle on terrorists seems in our best interest.

    The problem is bigger and more complicated than that. I was glad when officers inflicting torture where convicted, demoted and jailed. They were a supreme embarrassment to all of us. But bottom line, I don't want the terrorist back on our soil, or where he can kill another American soldier and please don't tell me it is leaders inciting false fear. Where have you been?

    June 23, 2007 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  20. Tom W - Dedham, Mass

    The enemy that is being captured and sent to Gitmo have it pretty damn good, 3 squares, clothes, books, praying time and materials.

    Hate to break it to you, the media is not telling that part of the story enough, but a couple of nitwits put underwear on peoples heads and you liberals cry for human rights.

    Where is your crying when they capture and REALLY torture us or raped THOUSANDS OF IRAQI WOMEN?

    Blame us, it makes you feel better.

    June 23, 2007 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  21. Warren S, Atlanta, GA

    Make no mistake about Romney's true nature. Under that slick veneer lies a ruthless facist. His tautological justification of Guantanamo is nauseating and shows that he doesn't recognize some fundamental human rights.

    June 24, 2007 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  22. Mike, Lawrence KS

    I'd like to see you start backing up your comments with citations from both Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price. That way, we'd know exactly that God is on your side, and your side only.

    June 24, 2007 11:08 am at 11:08 am |