Hagedorn accuses Walz of trying to bring terrorists to Rochester
With Rochester's Federal Medical Center behind him, Republican 1st District candidate Jim Hagedorn accused DFL Congressman Tim Walz of seeking to bring terrorists to Rochester.
Hagedorn pointed to Walz's support for closing the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba prison and allowing detainees to be housed at Rochster's Federal Medical Center.
"The people of Rochester are protected from the Islamic terrorists in Guantanamo Bay by 1,875 miles, an ocean and six barbed wires there no site. If the congressman has his way, they'll be right across the street in that facility, two miles from the door of the Mayo Clinic. That's completely unacceptable," Hagedorn said.
Discussion about Guantanamo Bay comes as President Obama is reportedly considering taking executive action to close the prison and bring detainees to the United States. In a 2009 Post-Bulletin story , Walz said he supported having Guantanamo Bay detainees house in Rochester as long as significant safeguards were met.
If elected, Hagedorn vowed he would sponsor an amendment to prohibit federal funds from being used to transer Guantanamo Bay detainees to the Federal Medical Center. Asked if Hagedorn had heard concerns from Rochester residents about this issue, he said he thinks most people don't know Walz's position on the issue. He also said he does not think that the Federal Medical Center would be equipped to handle these prisoners. Allowing these detainees to come to Rochester would also hurt the city's Destination Medical Center efforts.
"This needs to be a medical destination for everyone in the country, everyone in the world," Hagedorn said. "It doesn't need to be a destination for Islamic terrorists, the al-Qaeda terrorists."
I reached out to Walz's campaign for a response. When I hear back, I will update the blog.
Walz for Congress Campaign Manager Sara Severs called Hagedorn's comments "reckless and desperate."
In an emailed statement, Severs said, "Washington, D.C. blogger Jim Hagedorn, who has never served a day in uniform, has zero credibility on national security issues. Tim Walz, a 24-year veteran of the National Guard and the highest-ranking enlisted soldier to serve in Congress, will always fight to keep America safe."
(Photo by PB's Elizabeth Nida)