McConnell Predicts ‘Retreat’ by Obama on Terror Trials

By Matt Loffman

Feb 2, 2010 4:18pm

ABC's Z. Byron Wolf reports: Republicans smell a political victory on the issue of Guantanamo Bay – Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has been calling all year for the President to abandon plans to shutter Guantanamo Bay and try enemy combatants and suspected 9/11 detainees in the US. Today, after several Democrats joined onto a Republican proposal to strip money for domestic terror trials from spending bills, McConnell predicted victory with some loaded language. "I think the administration is going to retreat here," McConnell told reporters. He said Americans are coming to realize there is "a difference between someone who robs a convenience store and someone who tries to blow up a plane. Majority Leader Harry Reid was not exactly jumping up and down to defend the terror trials at his own press conference. While Reid pointed out there were 348 civilian trials for terrorists under President Bush and only three terror tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, he also said he is going to "let this play out." These comments were made after Republicans and Democrats emerged from their weekly party huddles. On Health reform, Reid said he is meeting today with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and staff meetings are meeting at the White House. He pledged again to get health reform done this year, but did not lay out a strategy or time line. After spending the first half of the week waiting out Republican filibusters of two Obama administration nominees, next up will be a jobs bill. Democrats in the Senate still haven’t unveiled theirs, although that could come Thursday. They’ll hear tomorrow from President Obama when they have an off-campus meeting at the Newseum, on Pennsylvania Ave., between Capitol Hill and the White House. Republicans described the Obama budget as "malfeasance." McConnell decried the President’s "far left agenda" and yet would not commit to appointing members to a bipartisan deficit reduction panel. Reid utilized his own party’s talking points and hit Republicans for being the "party of no." "Every day is groundhog day when you’re trying to govern with the party of no," said Reid. "No, no, no."

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