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Gitmo’s Closing, Financial Regulation Top Hill’s Agenda

Lawmakers have been pushing through a busy agenda in recent days, debating issues from the closing of the Guantanamo prison facility to the legalities of carrying loaded guns into national parks. Political analysts Stuart Rothenberg and Amy Walter offer insight.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    For the record, we had planned to bring you a debate between two senators on the Guantanamo issue, but floor debate has prevented them from coming to our camera position on the Capitol, so we're going to move right to some political analysis of the day's congressional developments, as also planned.

    That comes from Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of the Rothenberg Political Report, and Amy Walter, editor-in-chief of the Hotline, National Journal's political daily.

    Well, let's start with the Guantanamo closing. What caused the Democrats to suddenly say, "We're not going to fund this"? Or was it suddenly? If so, what caused it?

  • AMY WALTER, Editor-in-Chief, The Hotline:

    Well, it sure seemed suddenly, because this seemed to kind of pop out of nowhere. But there still seems, among Democrats, this sort of reflexive nervousness any time the issue of security, terrorism, crime comes up that they're going to be painted by Republicans as being soft on these issues and that we're going to get back to the days when Democrats were just completely on the defensive.

    You also started to see — and I'm sure Stu gets these in his e-mail box, too, from Republican campaign committees — e-mails sending out to local papers of candidates saying, "Where does Democrat Candidate X stand on Guantanamo?" Basically saying, "We're going to make this an issue in campaigns, so get ready for it."