Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Durbin, Quinn stump Sunday for Illinois Guantanmo


By Maureen O'Donnell
Sun-Times Staff Reporter

CHICAGO--In a fly-around the state Sunday, Gov. Quinn and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) accused GOP political rivals of spreading panic over efforts to house some Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detainees at the state's little used Thomson Correctional Center in northwestern Illinois.

Republicans, including Rep. Mark Kirk (R-10th), the Republican Senate front-runner, are lining up against the proposal and raising security concerns.

But Quinn called it a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" for Illinois to attract a billion dollars in economic development money and as many as 3,000 jobs to the area around Thomson, 150 west of Chicago.

Durbin responded to the GOP opposition by saying, "There's not been a single escape from a super-max prison in the history of the United States."

Durbin's office has been quarterbacking the potential sale of the prison through meetings between the White House and Quinn.

"There are over 340 convicted terrorists currently in the prison system in America [who have been] held without incident," Durbin said during the team's stop Sunday near Midway Airport. "Members of Colombian drug gangs and Mexican drug cartels . . . some of the meanest prisoners" have been held safely.

"There are those who will try to exploit fear if they have a chance," Durbin said. "It's totally wrong."

Guantanamo detainees would number fewer than 100 of a total prison population of 1,600 or more, they said.

Their fly-around, which included stops in the Quad Cities and Rockford, comes on the eve of a visit by federal prison officials planned for Monday to investigate the Thomson site.

Durbin and Quinn said they found strong support for the proposal from Thomson Village President Jerry Hebeler when they visited the Quad Cities area today.


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The GOP Party of No and Fear are unable to govern and when one does try to Govern and accomplish things for the American people like healthcare, raising the minimum wage or continuing unemployment benefits, they continue to "huff and puff" and spew fear in the air in hopes that people will continue to stay depressed and afraid thereby immobilizing and paralyzing them to do anything at all. Now the GOP are huffing and puffing about the Obama Decesion of having the terrorists being tried in open court in New York or housing prisoners in Illinois. Of course, we should bring these men to Justice, this should have been done a long time ago. GOP are just mad and angry that they could not accomplish this very basic task of holding these terrorists accountable for their acts! I would not even be surprised if Team Obama finds Bin Laden, something Bush & Co. were also incapable of doing. Would this anger the GOP also? Probably!

Think out of the box. Yes, the Reps. are playing the politics of fear. Just like the Dems. play the race card continually and talked down the economy for most of Dubya's first term. We are screwed no matter which party controls things. No choices except column "A" or column "B". Yo-yo politics.

Illinois unemployment is on the rise, but conditions vary throughout the state according to this heat map:

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on November 15, 2009 6:50 PM.

Guantanamo in Illinois: GOP-fueled opposition growing. Obama White House braced for fight was the previous entry in this blog.

Illinois Democrats worry about losing Senate seat. is the next entry in this blog.

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