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Why Democrats buckled to GOP fears on Guantánamo

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The vote coincides with a new poll that shows Democrats at parity with Republicans on the issue of national security for the first time since the Vietnam War.

Some 64 percent of likely voters approve of the job President Obama is doing on national security – six points higher than the president’s overall job-approval rating, according to a poll released Monday by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and Democracy Corps, which are Democratic pollsters.

By a nearly 2-to-1 margin, Americans say that Mr. Obama is doing better on national security than his predecessor, President Bush. "This survey signals a possible generational shift in attitudes that could have broad electoral consequences, depriving Republicans of one of their last remaining advantages just when their image has dropped to an all-time low relative to the Democrats,” the report concludes.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) of California, for one, has been an outspoken critic of Guantánamo. “Guantánamo has been a symbol of abuse and disregard for the rule of law for too long,” she said Wednesday.

Yet she voted against the line item to provide $80 million for closing Guantánamo. She cited public concerns that the president would release terrorists in US neighborhoods. Obama has yet to present a plan to show how the transition from Guantánamo would work, she said.

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