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Republicans Already Making Gitmo an Issue for 2016

Bennet leaves the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Bennet leaves the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican National Committee plans an online advertising campaign in seven key states targeting a policy change by the Obama administration about the future of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility.  

The RNC is looking to focus on Colorado, Kansas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Iowa, Missouri and Georgia, according to a GOP source familiar with the plan who shared details ahead of a formal announcement. Facilities in those states or close to them have been the subject of site visits by federal officials looking for a place to relocate Gitmo detainees.  

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the Obama administration expected to send its Gitmo plan to Congress “relatively soon.”  

An ad drafted for use in the key swing state of Colorado directs a message to Sen. Michael Bennet, the most vulnerable Democrat up for re-election in 2016, with the recurring line: “Stop the Obama-Clinton plan to close Gitmo.” The reference is to Democratic presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton.  

Lawmakers Preempt Obama on Guantanamo 

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It’s a prelude of what’s sure to follow if, as anticipated, the Obama administration formally submits a plan to Congress for addressing the detention facility that includes relocation to the U.S. mainland. Obama has pledged to close Gitmo since the start of his administration.  

GOP Sens. Pat Roberts of Kansas, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Tim Scott of South Carolina  representing states with facilities that could house detainees from Gitmo  decried possible executive actions at a Thursday news conference.  

Earnest on Thursday pointed to Republicans who have said the prison should be closed, making the case for shutting it down in the interest of national security.  

“We continue to believe that Congress should remove the obstacles that they have imposed that have prevented us from successfully closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay,” Earnest said. “To keep the prison at Guantanamo Bay open only continues to exacerbate the government spending that could be more effectively used to keep the country safe.”

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