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As Sanders Praises Obama Gitmo Plan, Clinton Stays Silent

'As I have said for years, the prison...must be closed as quickly as possible. Others, including my opponent, have not always agreed with me.'

Bernie Sanders praised President Barack Obama's proposal to close Guantánamo Bay prison. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

Bernie Sanders on Tuesday praised President Barack Obama's proposal to close Guantánamo Bay, noting in a statement that he has supported closing the U.S. military prison in Cuba for years—unlike Hillary Clinton, his rival for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

"I am encouraged to see that the president is sending Congress a plan to shut down the Guantánamo Bay prison. As I have said for years, the prison at Guantánamo must be closed as quickly as possible," Sanders said Tuesday. "Others, including my opponent, have not always agreed with me."

Sanders noted that he was one of three senators who in 2007 voted against a measure that would prohibit the transferring of Guantánamo detainees to prisons in the U.S., while Clinton supported keeping the detention center open.

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As of this writing, Clinton has yet to respond to Obama's proposal on Tuesday. As Politico points out, the same year that Clinton voted in favor of keeping Guantánamo open, she co-sponsored legislation with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that would have allowed detainees to be transferred to U.S. prison facilities or international tribunals.

Sanders in 2009 also voted to block Obama's request for funds to close the camp. At the time, Sanders said that he voted against the funding because he wanted a "clear and thorough examination of why the roughly 240 prisoners there are being held and an accounting of what will happen to them," which was not included in Obama's request.

On Tuesday, Sanders' position was clear. "Guantánamo has damaged the United States’ moral standing and undermined our foreign policy," he said.

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