Rep. Barrett says security needs more attention

AIKEN --- U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett says national security needs to be at the forefront of the Obama administration's priorities, especially in light of the Fort Hood shooting that left 13 people dead.


The congressman and former Army captain spoke Monday at the Aiken Republican Club's monthly meeting about national security, health care reform and what will re-energize the nation and South Carolina. Mr. Barrett was rallying support for his gubernatorial campaign.

He asked for a moment of silence for the victims of the Fort Hood shooting and criticized President Obama's assessment.

"They're saying he was depressed or had mental issues," he said. "It's a scary day when we don't call a spade a spade. I believe with all my heart that was an act of terrorism."

About 75 members of the club and other Aiken Republicans attended the luncheon, where Mr. Barrett outlined pressing national issues.

He described the current House bill on health care as "too much and too intrusive." He said the bill has less than a 50 percent chance of moving past the Senate. The current bill does not address tort reform or cost, he said.

"This bill does nothing to address cost," he said. "I take that back. It does. Your health care costs go up."

He also said he would oppose the five detainees being tried in the Sept. 11 attacks coming to a prison facility in Charleston.

He also shared his thoughts on the significance of job creation in helping South Carolina thrive. Continued development of nuclear-energy technology could bring the state more than $1 billion and create thousands of jobs, he said.

He denounced the administration's emphasis on the Cap-and-Trade program, which he said would eradicate 18,000 jobs across the country.

Aiken Mayor Pro-Tem Jane Vaughters said she agreed with Mr. Barrett's views on health care and national security.

"Buying insurance across state lines would help with the costs," she said after the luncheon.

Reach Stephanie Toone at (803) 648-1395 ext. 110, or