Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann said the president's call for Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to step down is another example of Barack Obama leading from behind on foreign policy.
Following a rally in downtown Columbia, the Minnesota congresswoman read a prepared statement to reporters that said in part, "The president should have acted weeks ago to call on President Assad to step down when his regime started slaughtering and oppressing his own Syrian people. By this count now it's thousands of Syrians."
Read what Texas Gov. Rick Perry said here.
Read what former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said here.
U.S. authorities resisted calling explicitly for Assad to step down from power until Thursday. The public statements from Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were closely coordinated with European, Turkish and Arab allies, significantly ratcheting up international pressure against a regime that has been criticized for its harsh crackdown against anti-government protesters in recent months.
Bachmann urged the president to stand up for the region's U.S. ally Israel by taking the lead against the brutal regime.
"The president has taken his eye off of Syria and Iran, which unfortunately has strengthened their adventurism," she said. "I strongly condemn Syrian President Assad's brutal use of force against his own people and I urge President Assad to step down immediately."
The presidential candidate also called on President Obama to expel the Syrian ambassador from the United States and withdraw the U.S. ambassador to Syria.