I am writing up my notes on the Frist/McCain press conference on John Bolton held today in the Mansfield Room. Check back shortly. . .
But until then, a couple of teasers.
When asked why he was there with Senator Frist talking on John Bolton, Senator McCain said, “Because Bill Frist asked me to….”
McCain does support Bolton; little chance of reversal there. But at least he has criteria that determine what type of candidates he will and won’t support. More on those later.
The whopper comment today though had nothing to do with Bolton. John McCain reiterated his objection to holding detainees at Guantanamo who have not been charged with crimes. He stated that two years ago, after a trip that he and Senator Maria Cantwell made to Guantanamo, he returned and sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld that said essentially, “try them or release them.”
There is no doubt there’s a problem when it comes to America’s image and Guantanamo, but the real problem has to do with the disposition of people detained there. . .the key to this is that we must try them or release them.”
Senator Frist jumped in and said emphatically that we “absolutely must not shut down Guantanamo.”
“We need to address the fundamental issues, the legal issues. . .but we can’t just cut and run and shut down facilities.”
The Mansfield Room in the Capitol, where the press meeting was held, was packed, perhaps 100 people, lots of cameras. Frist’s people treat the media well. M&M favors for all.
Ok…need to move back to the substance of the meeting.
One nice moment for TWN is that Senator McCain complimented my blog and said that it was great that National Journal’s Hotline was now covering The Washington Note.
More coming soon.
— Steve Clemons