December 27th, 2007
12:25 PM ET
3 years ago

Presidential candidates react to Bhutto

Getty Images photographer John Moore captured Benazir Bhutto waving, moments before he heard gunshots.
Getty Images photographer John Moore captured Benazir Bhutto waving, moments before he heard gunshots.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Many of the presidential candidates have reacted to the assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Click here to read all the candidate reactions. (Continually updated)

Related: Bush condemns 'cowardly' attack on Bhutto

soundoff (141 Responses)
  1. Ted, Gilbert AZ

    David, I am glad you have solved the assasination so quickly. There have been threats from jihadists and other extremists as many news agencies are reporting. Flip Flop McCain who has run so far away from his previous immigration stances as well as the Bush tax cuts.
    Glen, you using this forum to show your religious bigotry is offensive.

    December 27, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  2. Matt

    This has got to be a joke – McCain, Giuliani, Clinton, and freaking Romney get entire politicalticker stories devoted to their reactions, but the reaction of Sen. Biden – the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the ONLY candidate who spoke out forcefully about the crisis in Pakistan before today – is just given a few lines in a general article on the topic?

    Isn't this the time to listen to what Biden has to say, regardless of whether he's polling well or not?

    December 27, 2007 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  3. Richard, Ewing, NJ

    First, I am saddened about Bhutto's tragedy. She was a very popular politican and very pro-western and pro-democracy. Second, John McCain response is thoughtful and measured. In light of this tradegy, Obama inexperience in international affairs is clear. Early in the campaign, he has openly said he would unconditionally meet with Iranian leaders, and he would also invade Pakistan. Those were ridiculous comments. We have never invaded an ally, let alone a nuclear armed ally. We supply our troop in Afghanistan via Pakistan. Afghanistan in a inland country, and we needed Pakistan harbor to supply our troops in Afghan. Has Obama looked at a map before? Among the Democratic presidential candidates, I believe Joe Biden is the most experienced and wise. It is a shame that he is not a front runner. He has served the Senate for over 34 years thru 6 presidents. He has served as chairman of the judiciary committee and is the current chairman of the foriegn relations. It bufffers me that Senate Clinton claims she is the candidate with the most experience.

    December 27, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  4. Jo Don

    Does anyone else believe that about 90% of the political candidate supporters that post these comments are more then likely Shills for that political campaign.

    Not "innocent" "well meaning" citizens.

    December 27, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. Dave Diamond, Mont Vernon, NH

    all this talk about what did so-and-so say or not say... enough!

    we have a president right now to didn't have any foreign policy experience and look at where we are today.

    please please please - all of you people who say that President Bush needs to learn from history... all of us need to heed that same advice!

    hope? change? where will the slogans take us? how will they help the next president lead America to finding her place in the world?

    December 27, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. Guru

    The Last Leap:
    It was all the kind gesture of President Musharraf who must ensure his face look gloomy in public for some time. Mr. Bush should not pretend that he does not know who the real mastermind is. The ally of the fight against terrorism is the biggest terrorist. Benazir and his family knew the risks very well. It was only the run against time. Unfortunately Benazir lost in the last lap. Death leaped upon and threw a rattled nation back to oblivion where nobody knows if there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    Musharraf is at his ruthless best. But sadly the plots are similar to the ones in Sidney Sheldon paperbacks. He had to create a matrix by which the outside world should feel that it is Al Qaida who can attack any where and any time it feels so. There is no stopping to that. It is a double game. First the outside world will be sympathetic with Musharraf for the attacks within Pakistan and give all its monetary and other support to Musharraf and treat him as an ally for the international fight against terrorism. The other benefit is very close to the heart of Musharraf: he can use the name of Al Qaida to kill anybody inside Pakistan. He is a maverick in espionage/ war games.

    Look at the time span he took to create the scenario in Pakistan. He created an inner circle within ISI and Army who are power crazy elites. They would be acting on his insistence. But again here the trick was”left hand should not know what right hand is doing”. He started to make people believe that his life was at risk from terrorists. That there dear leader is also vulnerable! He started to fabricate plots to blow his own vehicle in 2002-3. The Bombs would explode just after his vehicle would leave the scene. Any way the vehicle would be bullet proof and there would be electronic jammers. He would fabricate plots to have blasts near his residence but he would not be harmed. In this process he knew well that some of his own army/ ISI personnel and common people would die. But that was indispensable to make the scenario look more as a natural attack. He will address the nation time and again about these terrorist attacks and keep a nation under fear psychosis so that people would think him as the protector and comply with his in his support to USA with their stop terrorism agenda. That way he dragged a whole nation from 9/11/2001 till late 2007 when people started thinking about democracy. Now it is time to use the blanket of Al Qaida to eliminate his adversaries who thought of reviving democracy in Pakistan. Poor Nawaz was bundled out like a toy and sent back. Benazir dared and entered Pakistan. She was attacked in her first home coming rally. The first attack was a mis hit. It did not matter much to Mush that 136 people died in the blast. Then the tricks of a season espionage master. Let her shed her fears. Let her participate in election when she will be an easy target. Poor lady some how knew in the back of her mind that there is some thing in the dark waiting for her. It was just a run against time. Before the end she failed in her attempt. Mush won. The election in Jan 2008 is farcical now. In any case Musharraf might use the situation as serious law and order problem to impose Emergency again. He simply needs to plot three to four serious blast cases killing minimum 100 people in each. Among the victims there should be good number of police and army personnel no matter ISI men also would do.

    Mr. Nawaz: do not worry because you have time till things cool down and the world lose memory of Benazir’s death. Till that time you may have to speculate about the plots that might be targeted at you. By the way I think for people like Nawaz and Imran it is already a Burmuda triangle. There is no exit.

    Though we Indians felt bad during Benazir regime for her shadow war against India, we always adored her and respected her as the pioneer to have brought democracy back to Pakistan. We were nostalgic about her as the Bhuto clan. For Pakistani people she was the greatest leader. May God rest her soul in peace. My deepest condolence to her family at this sad juncture.
    For Pakistani brothers and sisters: Awake and take the last leap! What for you are cocooned? Stop the Juggernaut. In any case you there is death in either side. Better to fight and die with a home that the juggernaut might be demolished.

    December 27, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    THE CORRUPT LEADERS OF THE MOSLEM WORLD.
    KIND ABDULLAH OF SAUDI ARABIA
    PRESIDENT HOSNI MOUBARAK OF EGYPT
    PRESIDENT BASSHAR AL ASSAD OF SYRIA
    KIND ABDULLAH II OF JORDAN
    PRIME MINISTER AL MALIKI OF THE SO CALLED IRAQ
    TO NAME A FEW

    December 27, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  8. John

    Giuliani is a joke.

    Never been to Iraq.

    Wouldn't serve on Iraq study group.

    Placed the emergency center in the world trade center after it had been attacked.

    Firefighters didn't have radios they needed and Rudy won't accept blame.

    Workers weren't warned about the toxic air.

    The head of the 9/11 commission Tom Kean endorsed McCain over Giuliani.

    Giuliani said he won't go to Iraq until the violence calms down.

    He is a wimp. How in the world is he considered an expert on foreign affairs like Joe Scarborough says. He has never been to Pakistan in his life of met the leaders there.

    Rudy is also unelectable. Rudy saying he is electable is another lie just look at the polls.

    December 27, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  9. Guru

    The Last Leap
    It was all the kind gesture of President Musharraf who must ensure his face look gloomy in public for some time. Mr. Bush should not pretend that he does not know who the real mastermind is. The ally of the fight against terrorism is the biggest terrorist. Benazir and his family knew the risks very well. It was only the run against time. Unfortunately Benazir lost in the last lap. Death leaped upon and threw a rattled nation back to oblivion where nobody knows if there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    Musharraf is at his ruthless best. But sadly the plots are similar to the ones in Sidney Sheldon paperbacks. He had to create a matrix by which the outside world should feel that it is Al Qaida who can attack any where and any time it feels so. There is no stopping to that. It is a double game. First the outside world will be sympathetic with Musharraf for the attacks within Pakistan and give all its monetary and other support to Musharraf and treat him as an ally for the international fight against terrorism. The other benefit is very close to the heart of Musharraf: he can use the name of Al Qaida to kill anybody inside Pakistan. He is a maverick in espionage/ war games.

    Look at the time span he took to create the scenario in Pakistan. He created an inner circle within ISI and Army who are power crazy elites. They would be acting on his insistence. But again here the trick was”left hand should not know what right hand is doing”. He started to make people believe that his life was at risk from terrorists. That their dear leader is also vulnerable! He started to fabricate plots to blow his own vehicle in 2002-3. The Bombs would explode just after his vehicle would leave the scene. Any way the vehicle would be bullet proof and there would be electronic jammers. He would fabricate plots to have blasts near his residence but he would not be harmed. In this process he knew well that some of his own army/ ISI personnel and common people would die. But that was indispensable to make the scenario look more as a natural attack. He will address the nation time and again about these terrorist attacks and keep a nation under fear psychosis so that people would think him as the protector and comply with him in his support to USA with their stop terrorism agenda. That way he dragged a whole nation from 9/11/2001 till late 2007 when people started thinking about democracy. Now it is time to use the blanket of Al Qaida to eliminate his adversaries who thought of reviving democracy in Pakistan. Poor Nawaz was bundled out like a toy and sent back. Benazir dared and entered Pakistan. She was attacked in her first home coming rally. The first attack was a mis hit. It did not matter much to Mush that 136 people died in the blast. Then the tricks of a season espionage master. Let her shed her fears. Let her participate in election when she will be an easy target. Poor lady some how knew in the back of her mind that there is some thing in the dark waiting for her. It was just a run against time. Before the end she failed in her attempt. Mush won. The election in Jan 2008 is farcical now. In any case Musharraf might use the situation as serious law and order problem to impose Emergency again. He simply needs to plot three to four serious blast cases killing minimum 100 people in each. Among the victims there should be good number of police and army personnel no matter ISI men also would do.

    Mr. Nawaz: do not worry because you have time till things cool down and the world lose memory of Benazir’s death. Till that time you may have to speculate about the plots that might be targeted at you. By the way I think for people like Nawaz and Imran it is already a Burmuda triangle. There is no exit.

    Though we Indians felt bad during Benazir regime for her shadow war against India, we always adored her and respected her as the pioneer to have brought democracy back to Pakistan. We were nostalgic about her as the Bhuto clan. For Pakistani people she was the greatest leader. May God rest her soul in peace. My deepest condolence to her family at this sad juncture.
    For Pakistani brothers and sisters: Awake and take the last leap! What for you are cocooned? Stop the Juggernaut. In any case you there is death in either side. Better to fight and die with a hope that the juggernaut might be demolished.

    December 27, 2007 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  10. paul

    the three pakastani candidates was united in offering the pakastani people a choice of direction and politics as well as which leader they felt would serve thier country best. obviously terrorist, extremists had other thoughts, the far east, middle east , asia and africa are so over populated, with people as well as radicals, which life means nothing to, nor are they responsible for thier actions, it makes one wonder if it was taliban, islamists, or muslim jidashs that wanted to dis rupt the process of peace. the western world should wake up to the fact that those people are hell bent on causeing problems for the whole world, what is it going to take to wake the western nations up to the fact that the only solution is to take the whole lot of them out.thier only intention is to bring the whole world into thier way of life where thier clerics rule everyone and everything.

    December 27, 2007 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. dmw, roeland park,ks

    I do not see or understand how anyone can make the case that Obama is right for the job of President with a straight face. Some of the posters who feel he is the most qualified to handle this situation are for sure living in a dream world. I know those posters are being delusional. Obama has never met this woman (Bhutto) and has not met personally many of the world leaders. So, it is just unbelieveable that those posters would feel Obama can handle these types of situations in the world.

    The 'he will change the world' mantra is old and is not at all convincing when issues like what happened to Bhutto occurs around the world.

    Obama is too green to handle these situations. Hillary, McCain, Richardson, Biden, and Dodd are the mature experienced adults who have world stature.

    December 27, 2007 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  12. John New York, NY

    "Why use an article about Bhuttos death to post vitriolic, negative slurs against ANY candidate?"

    I say this with the utmost respect: because our foreign policies and "War on Terror" propaganda is ruining our democracy and Constitution and the democracy and constitution of other countries.

    After Musharraf declared emergency rule, suspended the constitution and jailed thousands of lawyers and Supreme Court justices in the name of the "War on Terror,"
    the U.S. is providing them with billions of dollars in "aid" – aka our hard-earned tax dollars.

    Bhutto's voice was the voice of Truth just like Ron Paul's voice is the voice of Truth now in our country. Please watch Ron Paul in the debates, for he is the only candidate who truly "protects and defends the Constitution."

    Peace be with you!

    December 27, 2007 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  13. Bukky, Balt MD

    Mike Huckabee:
    "I am deeply troubled by the news accounts this morning of Pakistani opposition leader and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination in a suicide attack. This is devastating news for the people of Pakistan, and my prayers go out to them as we follow developments regarding this dire situation.

    "The terrible violence surrounding Pakistan's upcoming election stands in stark contrast to the peaceful transition of power that we embrace in our country through our Constitution. On this sad day, we are reminded that while our democracy has flaws, it stands as a shining beacon of hope for nations and people around the world who seek peace and opportunity through self-government."

    I'M SORRY... DOES ANYONE BELIEVE THAT HUCKABEE ACTUALLY WROTE OR SAID THIS.... ?REALLY...

    December 27, 2007 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. Kristy Sanborn, Buckhorn, Mo.

    Just this morning, CNN quoted Hillary as saying "...Her death is a tragedy for her country and a terrible reminder of the work that remains to bring peace, stability, and hope to regions of the globe too often paralyzed by fear, hatred and violence."
    This is contrary to how many times Hillary and numberous other democrats has said that the republicans in America are using 'fear' of terrorists to justify the war in Iraq.
    "regions of the globe", aren't we in America a region of the same globe Hillary now speaks of being TOO often paralzyed (by fear) by terrorists?
    Its not the Republicans trying to instill fear in America, its the terrorists and the crimes they commit.
    And what about what Hllary said about "work that REMAINS to bring peace, stability, and hope" to these regions?
    Work?
    Its war.
    And how many times has Americans read where Hillary did NOT support this war?
    Too many for me to feel comfortable with her being our President.
    Now that Bhutto has been assassinated, it makes me wonder if reality has set in on some Americans yet?
    Like this stuff REALLY does happen, and there is really a need to end it, and even if it means war, it has to be done.

    December 27, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  15. Alex

    In my opinion, today was not an act of terrorism, but an assassination.

    Speaking of moderation, also in my opinion Musharraf is the exponent of moderation, but without corruption and also without submitting the country to the American military complex, neither to the Islamic fanatics. Musharraf has two fierce enemies: the Islamic extremism and USA.

    Benazir was the one sacrificed by the US today and I think she knew the risks she was confronting, but I am sure that her close relatives were not prepared for this family tragedy.

    December 27, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. Danny G. Boca Raton, FL

    I believe that eloquence is something very powerful and in that regards I strongly believe that Sen. Biden, Sen. Clinton and Sen. McCain were by far the most eloquent speakers about this tragedy. This is a day where we all should be very aware of our own mortality and our need to reflect and admire the courage of everyday people doing extra-ordinary acts. for this woman to take the stand and to continue to fight for what she believes is the right thing even if it meant her very life is an act very few of us could ever follow. I believe one way to honor ourselves and the memory of those who fight for freedom is to vote, we have an election that is very important and we ALL should do our part to ensure we elect a president that will make a difference in the world and at home. I will vote for Sen. Clinton, however it does not matter whom you vote for as long as you vote. these are unique times in our history we need to rise to the challenges of the world and meet them head on. I urge you all to take the step to register, to listen to the candidates openly, to understand their message and to excercise your ultimate freedom right and to vote.

    December 27, 2007 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  17. Zac

    Now more than ever, a stand must be taken for freedom and democracy. It would be all too easy to escalate the violence, but cooler heads MUST prevail. War and chaos in Pakistan is the last thing the world needs right now.

    The world lost a great woman today, and her life should be honored by pursuing her ideals of a democratic and peaceful Pakistan.

    December 27, 2007 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  18. Padraic Power

    I wish CNN, or other news media outlets, would detail the Islamic and, specifically, the Pakistani version of a funeral ritual.

    Objections might be raised saying this kind of story might seem to be an advertisement for Islam, but I don't think so. Tactfully done, this might help bring some understanding of their culture and religion. And understanding leads to peace or, in case of last resort, defense.

    December 27, 2007 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  19. bill

    Benazir Bhutto had true greatness. What a loss. Her murderers are truly evil. Let us hope and pray for peace and freedom for Pakistan and for the world.

    We must acknowledge that our foreign policy has greatly contributed to the instability that made this act possible. NO doubt many in America will seize on this to assert that the solution is more American intervention. Our wars only strengthen those whom we fight, weaken our friends, and leave us isolated and hated in the world. Her killers have said she was targeted because of her pro American affinities. Let us hope and pray that Pakistan does not succumb to Islamic radicalism but if it does let us correctly understand why and not repeat our mistakes.

    December 27, 2007 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  20. bill

    Benazir Bhutto had true greatness. What a loss. Her murderers are truly evil. Let us hope and pray for peace and freedom for Pakistan and for the world.

    We must acknowledge that our foreign policy has greatly contributed to the instability that made this act possible. NO doubt many in America will seize on this to assert that the solution is more American intervention. Our wars only strengthen those whom we fight, weaken our friends, and leave us isolated and hated in the world. Her killers have said she was targeted because of her pro American affinities. Let us hope and pray that Pakistan does not succumb to Islamic radicalism but if it does let us correctly understand why and not repeat our mistakes.

    I am a Ron Paul supporter

    December 27, 2007 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. Richard, Ewing, NJ

    Kristy Sanborn,

    Actually Hillary Clinton was a strong support for both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. She voted for both of them. She retracted her support for the Iraq only in the beginning of 2006. Prior to 2006, she was porbably the most hawkish Democratic senator regarding the Iraq War (beside Joe LIeberman). I mean as late as in 2005, she stil insists US troops need to stay in Iraq to finish the war and that any timeless for withdraw is irresponsible. To this day, she has yet apologize or retract her senate vote supporting the Iraq War - something Joh Edwards did.

    I am no supporter of Clinton nor any of the Democratic candidates. However, I would not call her weak. She has a very hawkish history. My concern for her is really about: conviction. I do not see conviction from her, which is why I am a supporter for Senator McCain.

    Richard

    December 27, 2007 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  22. Richard, Ewing, NJ

    Clark Lowery,

    Obama suggestion makes no sense. Any strike against Pakistan will only made the country more extreme, not less. Unless you are talking about a complete invasion and decade of nation building like WW2 Japan. Whenever a country is strike by any factor, it only boosters the anti-factor. When we got involved in the Korea War, we made North Korea hated us more, not less. When we got involved in Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese also hated us more. When we fought against Saddam Huessin in 1988, Iraq switched from Pro-US to Anti-US and Saddam was able to assume more power. Keep in mind during the Iraq-Iran conflict, US was more leaning toward toward Iraq, and Saddam Huessin most admired president is Ronald Reagan.

    Let just imagine what would happen if America is attacked by another country? Let's just random pick ... say France. Let's just say France made a military strike. What do you think will happen within the US political spectrum? The Pro-French politicans will be lose power and the Anti-French politicans will win. There is no reason a French attack on US will make US more Pro-French, and there is no reason a USA strike on Pakistan makes it more Pro-America. If you have to stike, you have to strike hard, you have to completely conquror the country and rebuild the nation from ground up, like WW2 German or WW2 Japan. However, you have to ask yourself, is that what you are willing to scarfice and is that what Obama really mean - I seriously doubt that is what he meant.

    December 27, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. Jose Card - Independent

    It is not invincibility that drove Ms. Bhutto to go to a political rally. It is her courage and belief in democracy. This is a very sad day for democracy.

    The ball is now in the hands of the people of Pakistan.
    They have to continue to fight for democracy if they want it.

    December 27, 2007 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  24. Jessica, El Paso, TX

    This is a very sad and shocking event indeed. This is why we need to put an experienced individual in the White House. I really don't understand why people insist that experience is not important. Obama and the rest of them can only react like all of us, as shocked by-standers. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, actually knew Benazir Bhutto personally and had some sort of working relationship with her. . I guess, for me, this reiterates the great assets that Hillary brings to the table that no other candidate can. She has actually met with a great number of foreign leaders and engaged in diplomacy on various levels. I think this brings back to light the importance of electing someone who knows what they are doing. There are so many unexpected events around the world that we need someone who is experienced enough to know how to react them and what to do, as well as someone who has already established themselves in the global arena. She is, after all, the most admired woman in the world for peets sake!

    December 27, 2007 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  25. Jessica, arlington, VA

    I'm not sure how this woman was a hero. She supported the taliban in afghanistan and made it a safehaven for other terrorists, like the ones who killed americans. why is everyone so saddened by her death? maybe she became a better person afterwards, but isn't it too late? after all, she has contributed in the deaths of thousands of people.

    December 27, 2007 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
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