In Obama's Quest to Save Face, the Italians Up the Ante

        The Obama administration has just found a big taker, relatively speaking, in its quest to relocate Guantanamo Bay detainees.

        President Obama told reporters, "Italy has agreed to accept three specific detainees [from Guantanamo] and has also been part of the leadership in Europe that today announced a framework in which European nations can accept detainees. And that was something that I was very appreciative of."

        Nevermind the South Pacific nation of Palau or the Island of Bermuda. Sitting side by side in the Oval Office meeting Monday with Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Obama announced another mainstream international player will step up to the plate, helping the Obama administration save face in what's become an ugly dispute.

        President Obama's promise to close the post-9/11 prison by year's end had hit some roadblocks when some countries announced they were reluctant to accept detainees if the United States itself did not first accept the burden of housing some.

        That was complicated by the fact that many members of congress virulently opposed bringing the prisoners to their own districts.

        Now, Italy has given some heft to mere promises of taking some detainees, if only less than a handful.  Obama didn't let the gesture slip by without a nod to the Italians, noting, "This is not just talk."

        Other countries like France have already accepted non-citizen detainees. And after European Union member states' announcement earlier Monday that they are ready to help resettle detainees, Italy's offer will likely keep that ball rolling.