October 20th, 2009
07:43 PM ET
13 years ago

Liberal group launches campaign to close Guantanamo

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/20/art.gitmoad1020.vv.jpg caption="A new ad out Tuesday urges Congress to close to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A coalition of retired generals and liberal activists joined forces Tuesday launching a $100,000 ad campaign - and multi-million dollar national grassroots effort - aimed at pressuring members of Congress to support President Obama's endeavor to close the Guantanamo Bay prison.

The 30-second spot, called "Close Gitmo Now," hit the airwaves Tuesday on network and cable television nationwide. It accuses Congress of being complacent in continuing policies from the Bush-Cheney administration.

"We want torture ended and we want to build the political base of support for those members of Congress who are willing to stand up," John Soltz, who heads the liberal veterans group VoteVets.org, told reporters on a conference-call Tuesday.

The "Campaign to Close Guantanamo," spearheaded by former Maine Rep. Tom Andrews, said they plan to move forward by targeting specific congressional districts in an attempt to restrain American's apprehension and possible fear of closing the prison. They did not say which districts they may focus on.

Update 7:43 p.m.: The Board of Directors of Keep America Safe, a conservative group focused on foreign policy issues, has responded in a statement to the new ad. "Guantanamo Bay is a secure, safe, humane facility where terrorists can be held, and when appropriate, tried. Americans expect their President to defend them from terrorists, not usher terrorists into the homeland," the group's directors said in a statement e-mailed to CNN.

Filed under: Guantanamo Bay
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Michael

    See what it was is that Congress wanted to know what the plan for closing Gitmo was before they started throwing money at closing it. If he actually had a plan other then saying we will close Gitmo in one year then he would have gotten the money he asked for.

    October 20, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. LacrosseMom

    Guantanamo MUST BE closed, it represents torture and INJUSTICE done by a Nation that stand for Freedom & Justice!

    Guantanamo is a black mark on America's history!

    PS. GOPers: Of the 700 plus prisoners at Guantanamo Bush set FREE, 550!

    There are a little over 200 there, who should be processed through our judicial system and set free if they can not be found guilty!

    Bush's ignorance will cost us, dearly! These prisoners may go back to their homeland to be recruited by terrorist groups! The idiot Bush should have to pay money out of his millions to process these prisoners!

    October 20, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  3. turdburglar

    Of all the things someone could spend $100,000 plus mutli-millions in grassroots efforts on, defending violent terrorists becomes the calling cry of this group.

    October 20, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  4. WAR

    Gates is saying decision on troops in Afghanistan cannot wait.....CNN....what happened to news reporting....that should be on your front page

    October 20, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  5. phoenix86

    Here's an idea, let's place the current Gitmo detainees in the homes of Tom Andrews, John Soltz and the rest of this group while they await trial.

    I would think that Andrews, Soltz and their group would not have any problem with this at all.

    Unless, of course, they're just hypocrites...

    October 20, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  6. gwen

    It's easy, if they are found guilt of a crime move them to one of our maximin security prisons – where no one has every escaped, keep them in solitary confiment/isolation if people are afraid they'll start plotting in prison – but close gitmo now – and to the repubs who spread fear by saying they don't want them on american soil – again no one has escaped from our maximum security prison, what is to fear?!?!

    October 20, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  7. B

    GOOD ! It is a huge problem for us as long as it continues.

    October 20, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. B

    GOOD ! It is a huge problem for us.

    It will be a a big part of the Bush and Cheney legacy..

    October 20, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  9. Unemployed in IOWA

    Those who want to close Gitmo are no better than the Democrates who want to let known terroist out of Gitmo and free to attack again. Let them live in your house not mine.

    October 20, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  10. Gordon Shumway

    I'd like to suggest that the hometowns of these folks be considered primary resettlement sights for the present inhabitants of Guantanamo prison. Maine would be a perfect location to start with. Heck, the former prisoners could make a terrific living picking potatoes or burning barns, depending on how the crops went.

    October 20, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  11. Deb

    Liberal group launches campaign to close Guantanamo. Not a surprise, i suppose someone has to step in and do the president's job for him. Perhaps another group ought to launch an all out campaign for healthcare reform because the president ain't gonna get it done with all this pre-campaigning for 2012 in the works that he is attending to. I must say, I am so overwhelmingly surprise and dissapointed at how Obama has turned out considered the bigger then life words and shinny message of promise that were made in 2008. Change and Hope and Unity appears to have left town since the election. So so so sad.

    October 20, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  12. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    step 1 – Obama PROMISES to close it starting "on day one"
    step 2 – he lied – still open
    step 3 – someone is finally calling him on his promises

    President Obama – keep your promises – you might have fooled the Nobel Committee but a lot of us know:
    – END the WARS
    – STOP the TORTURE
    – Close the PRISON camps

    October 20, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  13. Magnanimous

    Perhaps this group is also volunteering to host the detainees in their own communities? Tom Andrews can host all of them as exchange students. There is a reason why President Obama has not released them. We need to cut the President a little slack he has only been in office for 10 months.

    October 20, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  14. Ryan

    Bush tried to save us from the terrorist and now Obama is trying to get them to live my neighborhood. WT............................................ is going on. Oh I forgot, most of Obama's mentors were terrorist. God help us all.

    October 20, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  15. Marc

    What's the difference between supermax prison facilities and Guantanamo? You don't have to feel ashamed of being American when you hear about who is being kept inside a supermax, quite the contrary. Supermax facilities can and will do a great job to hold on those who are tried and found guilty of crimes against the USA, so close Guantanamo and send those who happen to have evidences/proofs against them to be held there while awaiting trial and afterward (if they are found guilty of course).
    Or you guys prefer to have a Stalinist prison model in the USA?
    PS: Spare us of the yada-yada about Guantanamo being not in US soil therefore our laws doesn't apply there those who are still against this much needed act.

    October 20, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  16. Mike Syracuse, NY

    Obama's evolving position on closing GITMO:
    Yes we can.
    Well maybe we can, but it will take a while.
    I'm not so sure that we can.
    Can't I just vote 'present'?
    (Note: you can substitute any other issue of the day for GITMO, and it still works)

    October 20, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  17. Jane

    It's part of the Obama legacy now–he's been in office for 7 mos now stop looking in the past and playing the blame game.

    October 20, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  18. mark in Atlanta

    Good. I think Obama will get this done, in a sensible way, but he (and more importantly congressional Dems) needs to be reminded that Americans want that place closed.

    October 20, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  19. They call me "tater salad"

    Yeah!..........And put them all in our already overcrowded, understaffed, and underfunded prisons! And we the taxpayers get to pay for it all just like EVERYTHING ELSE!!!!!!!What a great idea!..............NOT!!!!

    October 20, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  20. jon

    Liberals are insane. They want Gitmo closed because people who despise the U.S. tell them to. Liberals clung to Bush (he had an 89 percent approval rating) right after 9/11 for protection, then proceeded to completely trash him as soon as they forgot about the worst attack on North American soil in history.

    October 20, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  21. annie against biased news

    Why did obama ban FOX from going there? What is it that he doesn't want the only honest news media to see?

    October 20, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  22. Enough

    Great, close Gitmo and then what? Move these terrorists to another prison, release them to terrorize again or what? He made the unfounded promise to close Gitmo with no plan in place. Typical Obama politics.

    October 20, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  23. Steve B

    In my opinion Gitmo should have been left alone by the liberals. Somewhere between the cries to close Gitmo and prosecuting CIA agents
    there may be a compromise in our security forces ability to protect us.

    Just thinking out loud here

    October 20, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  24. Guantanamo is NOT closing.....

    the promised deadline is 90 days away and Obama is not close to closing Guantanamo. Obama is doing what he always does.....blab away and then sits on his hands....

    Obama is ONE and DONE.

    October 20, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Guantanamo bay should not be closed. Those prisoners deserve to be there!

    October 20, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
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