Transcript: Sens. Jim Webb, D-Va., and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.

These aren't people who were in the United States, committing a crime in the United States. These are people who were brought to Guantanamo for international terrorism. I do not believe they should be tried in the United States.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yet back in January, you supported the president's decision to close Guantanamo.

WEBB: I think Guantanamo has become the great Rorschach test of how we feel about international terrorism. We should, at the right time, close Guantanamo. But I don't think that it should be closed, and in terms of transferring people here.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, but I -- I just want to press this one more time, because, actually, in January, on January 23rd, you said the president has given a reasonable timeline here in sorting this out. You no believe it's reasonable?

WEBB: Well, no, I don't, actually. You know, having sat down with my staff and gone through the numbers in detail, and looking at, you know, the facilities that have been built there, and coming to the point where I have to, you know, personally weigh in on this in a detailed way, I think what we're doing is the right way.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you will not support funding for closing down Guantanamo?

WEBB: We should close down Guantanamo at the right time. I think what has happened is Guantanamo has become the issue rather than how we process these people who were detained there.

Let's process them the right rules of law, the right due process, within the constraints of how we have to handle these cases, with military intelligence and that sort of thing, but the facility is there at Guantanamo to do it. And then close it down.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So the January deadline should be relaxed. The president should not meet that January deadline. You don't believe Guantanamo...


WEBB: I think we should -- you know, I think we should defer to the judgment of the administration who is looking at this. I think we all are moving toward the right direction. But we shouldn't be creating artificial timelines.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But the administration said January.

WEBB: They've said a lot of things and taken a look and said some other things. So let's process these people in a very careful way and then take care of it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me come back to you, Senator Kyl. Yesterday, President Obama appointed the Republican governor of Utah, Jon Huntsman, to be ambassador of China.

A high profile governor, he had been looking at a presidential run. Are you disappointed that he took this job?

KYL: No. He's a very capable guy. He speaks Mandarin Chinese. He had a post in Singapore similar to this in the past. He is very experienced. He is knowledgeable about trade issues. And I think it's great to have a highly qualified person like that.

And to the fact that the president reached out to appoint a Republican is a good thing. I'm not at all disappointed. It's, I think, good for the United States.

WEBB: I'm chairman of the East Asia Subcommittee on the Foreign Relations Committee, I'm happy to take a look at his qualifications.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Webb, Senator Kyl, thank you both very much for your time this morning.

Straight to the roundtable now. So as our panelists take their seats, take a look at Robert Gibbs from Friday's press briefing, showing just a little bit of exasperation after a week of taking a lot of heat from both sides.


Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...