Politics & Government

Guantanamo detainees are a heated issue in S.C. gubernatorial race

U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett found out Wednesday his Republican rivals for governor are willing to disagree even when they agree on an issue — housing terrorism suspects in Charleston.

And a Democratic opponent was blunt and coarse in rejecting Barrett's plea to oppose the transfer, telling the Upstate congressman to take the letter he planned to write to President Obama and "shove it."

It's one year before South Carolinians head to the polls to elect a new governor. Wednesday's tussle over how the state should oppose the possibility of housing terrorism suspects in South Carolina was perhaps the first sign of how heated the race for governor will be over the next 12 months.

Tuesday Barrett called on nine fellow gubernatorial candidates to sign a letter to President Barack Obama opposing the transfer of any of the more than 200 terror suspects housed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to a naval brig outside of Charleston. Obama has pledged to close the base but has yet to decide when or what will happen to the Iraq and Afghanistan war detainees held at Guantanamo.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a military lawyer who has tried to work closely with the White House on detainee issues, criticized Obama for announcing plans to close the Guantanamo Bay military prison before developing a comprehensive plan for handling the suspects.

"Quite frankly, the president screwed this up," Graham said.

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