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Axelrod: Concerns About Gitmo Detainees Becoming "Martyrs"

Senior White House advisor David Axelrod said that should Guantanamo detainees be allowed to plead guilty, avoid trial and possibly receive the death sentence, as The New York Times reported Saturday, there are concerns the U.S. would be allowing criminals to "martyr themselves."

Appearing on CBS News' Face The Nation Sunday, Axelrod said "grave concerns" had been raised about such a possibility, and that because discussions at the White House are still ongoing, President Obama has not made a decision on the matter.

Axelrod (left) was also asked about President Obama's speech in Cairo last week and his call for Israel to stop settlement building in Gaza. He said he was happy with the foreign reaction.

"One of the most heartening things about the speech was the kind of reaction that it got across the region, from Arab leaders, from Israeli President Shimon Peres and others in Israel," he said.

Guest moderator Harry Smith noted that Israeli prime minister Bibi Netanyahu did not support a halt to settlements, and Axelrod admitted that the peace process is "difficult."

Axelrod also predicted major healthcare reform will be accomplished this summer, and while he admitted it would be expensive, he warned of far worse if action isn't taken.

"If we don't do health care reform, if we don't get costs under control, if we don't reform the system, then we will have a fiscal disaster in the future," he reasoned.

Axelrod also said there are signs of progress in the economy, and that the stimulus plan is just gaining "momentum."

He said he would not pre-judge the impact of the latest stimulus plan and would not say whether President Obama will have to go back to Congress to ask for more money.

More from Face The Nation (6.07.09):

  • Gingrich Opts To "Reframe" Racist Tweet
  • Gingrich Responds To Powell-Cheney Debate
  • Read The Complete Transcript> (pdf)

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