INTERVIEW: Mark Warner on U.S. debt, Navy SEALs

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Senator Mark Warner has been very busy in Washington, D.C. The Democrat has been working for a bi-partisan solution to pull the United States out of massive debt.

He also was worked to bring Virginians together to honor the Navy SEALS who located and killed Osama bin Laden.

Senator Warner joined NBC12 on First at Four to discuss this topics.

RYAN: Thank you for being here, Senator Warner.

MARK WARNER: Thanks for having me, Ryan.

RYAN: First let's talk about Osama bin Laden. The actual event itself. There's been a lot of controversy over whether or not the White House should release the pictures of Osama bin Laden's dead body. I know members of congress have gotten the opportunity to view pictures. Are you among the group of people who have seen them and do you think the White House made the right decision?

MARK WARNER: Ryan, I have not seen the picture and I frankly don't have desire to. I think us a tough call and the right. When you have Al-Qaeda itself acknowledging that Osama bin Laden is dead, I don't think there's need for further prove and I think it might have ended up stirring up more resentment.

RYAN: Let's talk about what you're doing. Did some people have an outpouring of appreciation and support for the Navy SEALs but there's a clandestine group. They're not looking for accolades. What are doing to get the message to them?

MARK WARNER: I was thinking about the fact that here are these guys who went in, executed this operation without a single casualty, made sure to take care of the civilians, and, you know, it was American military at its best and I was thinking how with we thank these guys, yet their own privacy has to be protected for their own safety. So we said let's post something on our web page, and people can send in their messages and we've had over 1,200 messages sent in from our active duty members, veterans, folks all across not only Virginia but the country and I'm going to get down there and deliver that drive and hopefully some of these messages will get through and these guys will realize the enormous gratitude the country feels for them.

MARK WARNER: And we showed an example of what it looks like on your facebook page as well. I've been interested to see some of the remarks. It's not just people saying thanks. People have taken the time to write pretty in-depth and long messages of thanks.

MARK WARNER: There's some real heart-felt expressions of gratitude and the American public will never know their names. That's the responsibility, again, of this type of clandestine operation, but I really -- I was personally touched as I read through some of these messages and made me proud to be an American and make me proud to deliver these messages.

RYAN: We talk about them being a secret force. You get to go down there and talk to a group of people who may be seals but you may or may not know if you're talking to the guys responsible for this mission.

MARK WARNER: A lot of this, if you notice the Navy's reaction, they have never fully acknowledged which was the group, where they're based out of, you know. I think we can all know that they're home-ported in Virginia, but we got to abide by their rules.

RYAN: All right. Very quickly, you're still very much immersed in this whole budget deal and particularly trying to rein in debt. Are you going to get the opportunity to come up with a bipartisan solution that will get passed?

MARK WARNER: Ryan, I sure as heck hope so, because I think as we saw when we almost shut down the government, if you get back to the partisan bickering back and forth, you will never get a deal. When we have a $14 trillion debt, which we add $4 billion a day to each day we don't act, you have to start with a bipartisan ever and this so-called gang of six, three very conservative Republicans, three Democrats, we're going to come out with a plan that I think an awful lot of folks will say that might be a good starting point.

RYAN: Very good. Senator Warner, good luck with the SEALS down there in Virginia Beach and thank you for joining us.

MARK WARNER: Thanks, Ryan. 

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