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Orman spokesman reassigned over Gitmo flap

A spokesman for independent candidate Greg Orman's U.S. Senate campaign has been "reassigned" after posting a comment on Twitter referring to Sen. Pat Roberts and other Senate Republicans as "bedwetters."

Sam Edelen, who had been part of Orman's communications team since early in the campaign, is still employed by the campaign but will no longer handle day-to-day communications, according to a senior campaign aide, who has been handling most of the campaign's communications in recent weeks.

The flap began Friday when Roberts, speaking to campaign volunteers in Topeka, vowed to filibuster all legislation if President Barack Obama tries to transfer suspected terrorists now being held at a prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States.

When Roberts' comment hit certain national news websites, Edelen posted a tweet: "Natural leaders don’t excel by instilling fear & cowardice in their people. But does the Senate Bedwetter's Caucus?"

The comment was actually a quote from a Washington Monthly blog post by Martin Longman, and he included a link to that article. But he did not put quotation marks around it, making it appear that the comment reflected the Orman campaign's views.

An aide said that remark, and especially the tone of it, did not reflect the campaign's positions, but he also said Orman has not formed a specific position on what to do with the Guantanamo Bay prisoners — many of whom have been held for more than a decade without being charged or tried for a crime — except to say, "President Obama is absolutely wrong on this, and the solution is not to bring these terrorists onto U.S. soil."

Obama had vowed to close the prison during his 2008 campaign. Shortly after taking office in 2009, he issued an executive order to close the prison and either release detainees to their home countries, transfer them to a third country, or transfer them to prisons located within the United States, possibly including the military prison at Fort Leavenworth.

Roberts at that time protested that action, and Congress has since blocked any transfer of prisoners without congressional approval. Last week, however, the Wall Street Journal reported that the administration is "drafting options" for closing the prison, prompting even more harsh criticism from House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Roberts, who has been shifting the focus of his campaign to national security issues in recent days, was apparently echoing Boehner's comments when he made his remarks Friday. The flap continued Monday when the Roberts campaign posted a photo of the senator with an angry expression, echoing his vow to shut down the government.

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by Peter Hancock

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