(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lambasted President Barack Obama's leadership Thursday saying his call for Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to step down comes after too much blood has been shed in the country.
In a statement the former Massachusetts governor said the president took "far too long to speak out forcefully against Assad."
Read what Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann said here.
Read what Texas Gov. Rick Perry said here.
"America must show leadership on the world stage and work to move these developing nations toward modernity," Romney said. "This means using the bullhorn of the presidency and not remaining silent for too long while voices of freedom and dissent are under attack."
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.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said it is "shocking that it has taken President Obama this long to realize that Syria is a threat to not just the region, but to its own people."
"It is about time that the Obama Administration stepped to the plate and called for the long-awaited resignation of President Assad," the former Pennsylvania senator said in a statement.