2012 candidates react to events in Libya
Demonstrators hold up flags of the old kingdom of Libya, used by Libya's National Transitional Council during a protest against Gadhafi outside the Libyan embassy in Ankara on August 22, 2011.
August 22nd, 2011
12:33 PM ET
11 years ago

2012 candidates react to events in Libya

(CNN) - Republican presidential candidates responded Monday to the apparent collapse of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's government.

Monday marked "Day 2" in Tripoli for rebel forces as they made gains in the capital. While the whereabouts of Gadhafi were not known, three of his sons were in the custody of rebel forces. Here are the latest developments.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney: "The world is about to be rid of Muammar el-Qaddafi, the brutal tyrant who terrorized the Libyan people. It is my hope that Libya will now move toward a representative form of government that supports freedom, human rights, and the rule of law. As a first step, I call on this new government to arrest and extradite the mastermind behind the bombing of Pan Am 103, Abdelbaset Mohmed Ali al-Megrahi, so justice can finally be done."

Texas Gov. Rick Perry: "The crumbling of Muammar Ghadafi's reign, a violent, repressive dictatorship with a history of terrorism, is cause for cautious celebration. The lasting impact of events in Libya will depend on ensuring rebel factions form a unified, civil government that guarantees personal freedoms, and builds a new relationship with the West where we are allies instead of adversaries."

Former Utah Gov. and U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman: "The impending fall of Colonel Gaddafi is one chapter in the developing story of a nation in turmoil. Gaddafi has been a longtime opponent of freedom, and I am hopeful - as the whole world should be - that his defeat is a step toward openness, democracy and human rights for a people who greatly deserve it."

Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania:
"Ridding the world of the likes of Gadhafi is a good thing, but this indecisive President had little to do with this triumph. The stated task from the very beginning for this administration was to determine whether the US can positively influence the direction of the successor government. As we have seen in Egypt, the euphoria of toppling a dictator does not always result in more security for us and our allies in the region."

Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota: "I opposed U.S. military involvement in Libya and I am hopeful that our intervention there is about to end. I also hope the progress of events in Libya will ultimately lead to a government that honors the rule of law, respects the people of Libya and their yearning for freedom, and one that will be a good partner to the United States and the international community."

Filed under: 2012 • Jon Huntsman • Libya • Michele Bachmann • Mitt Romney • Rick Perry • Rick Santorum
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Phil in KC

    And, of course, Obama and NATO get 0 credit.... But, if it were a Republican in the White House, you'd think they brought it about single-handedly.

    August 22, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  2. Iris Pereyra

    Waiting breathlessly for Michelle Bachman's opinion on this matter!!!

    August 22, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  3. Sandy

    Romney:As a first step, I call on this new government to arrest and extradite the mastermind behind the bombing of Pan Am 103, Abdelbaset Mohmed Ali al-Megrahi, so justice can finally be done."

    YOU are NOT the President!

    August 22, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  4. Blaine

    I know it's a lot to ask of political reporters, but could the CNN Political Unit reach out to Bachmann and Paul, at least, for their reactions? The title here, "2012 candidates react..." gives the false impression that we would be able to compare and contrast "reactions". it leads the average reader to think that the article would have something to say about the few candidates who have distinctive stances about our 6 month old war. The Perry and Romney reactions are 100% predictable and this article is a waste of time.

    August 22, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Don't care, never did, we wasted billions on this illegal "non-war". It sets a horrendous precedent for the use of military force. It was a direct intervention in another countries internal matters. Whether Khaddafi stayed or went made no difference to the national interests of the USA or Europe. If there ever was a "war of choice", it was this one. Obama and the Democrats have lost ALL credibility when they criticize George Bush about Iraq. They did the same thing, only worse. Khaddafi wasn't shooting at USA aircraft like Saddam was. Obama and the Democrats, liars and hypocrits ALL.

    August 22, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. Name king

    Well the repugs believe in bum rushing countries, if they had not done what Obama did and do their usual destruction then spend trillions rebuilding we would have long time and had 3 wars and trillions going against our debt. Obama got this accomplished with only 1 billion dollars that is unheard of In modern conflict.

    August 22, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    I call on this new government to arrest and extradite the mastermind behind the bombing of Pan Am 103, Abdelbaset Mohmed Ali al-Megrahi, so justice can finally be done."
    He's already been tried and found guilty. Please let's NOT waste anymore more money bringing him here for trial. Just carry out the "justice" there where it'll only cost the price of a 9mm round.

    August 22, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  8. The Other Michael in Houston

    So Gov. Rick Parry, will it be okay if Libyan's form unions?

    August 22, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  9. The Elephant in The Room


    From: RNC Chairmain Rience Priebus
    To: All Potential Republican Presidential Candidates
    Subject: Campaign Strategy

    With the imminent ouster of Moammar Kaddafhi, all of you are hereby instructed to prepare public statements disparaging President Obama on the subject of Libya.

    Stay away from the fact that ZERO American lives have been lost or that Mr. NoDramaObama has pulled off the most COST EFFECTIVE removal dictator in modern history.

    Focus on things like America abdicating our Superpower status to NATO but stay away from the fact that it was the American-lead application of firepower in the 1st 2 weeks of the conflict that removed missile and AA gun threats that allowed NATO to proceed unhindered.

    Try to redefine and expand the mission in Libya so that the President can't get credit yet for a success. Downplay the ouster of Kaddafhi and play up uncertainty of the rebels. Say that they are al-Queda in disguise. Stay away from the fact that we all universally wanted Moammar removed.

    And for God's sakes, DON'T remind Americans that Kaddafhi was behind the murder of hundreds of Americans onboard Pam Am Flight 103 out of Lockerbie Scotland. We GOP'ers are already weak enough against this President on the subject of foreign affairs and terrorism with his actions against Somali pirates and Osama bin Laden.

    August 22, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. ConservaFASCISTS/TeaHadists/Tea Queda/TeaLiban

    It doesn't matter what the Teapublican candidates think because they wee all on the wrong side of the issue from the beginning. The President's foreign policy has proven to b effective.

    August 22, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  11. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    spend trillions rebuilding
    And what makes you think we won't be on the hook for billions to rebuild what we have bombed? But I guess it is different because Obama will be doing it, right?

    August 22, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. Laverne

    Romney is pathetic? You sir, are not the president and probably will never be the president. He wants to be president so bad, forget being voted in, he thinks he is already there. He may commit suicide if he doesn't get the nomination this time!

    August 22, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. C. Howe Yulikit

    Hmmm, funny that they didn't mention President Obama's cool headed leadership on this Libya crisis.

    August 22, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  14. Tony in Maine

    Amazing. These are the same people screaming that President Obama (elected by a majority of Americans) was wasting American money unconstitutionally (Halliburton wasn't getting a cut).

    Now that Khadafy appears to be chased out they rush to the mics and videocams to catch some of the glory. Hypocrite thy name is Republican.

    August 22, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  15. FM

    Am anxiously waiting to hear from those who were saying "impeach Obama" what they say now!

    August 22, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  16. Rebulican Class Warfare-DESTROYED the ecomony, DESTROYED America

    Hey Democrat Class Warfare, that's because no American military aircraft was flying over Libyan air space, there goes your dumb arguement. And for the last time to all you Tea-peirs, the conflict in Libya was approved by NATO, Operation Iraqi Freedom was not. Sincerely,

    August 22, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  17. keith A. sillsbury

    these are the same two clowns the just last week claimed this was a travesty! now you want to open your mouths again in support? Get lost.

    August 22, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. Woman In California

    Great job Mr. President. Even though they will NEVER give you the respect and credit you deserve WE WILL. No (fake) swagger, or LOUD ignorance – just plain common sense.
    Enjoy your vacation and continue to keep things quiet and on the level.

    August 22, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  19. jacq

    I'm waiting to see which one of these leeches will try to take credit or try to attack the President for making the right call. GOP=Taliban,no ideas or solutions. The party of no is really sticking. No work done,No jobs bill pass,just what in the hell Republicans in Congress do anyway?

    August 22, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  20. Marie MD

    @phil, i am waiting for Obama to get credit fro the right wing nuts on giving the order yo kill the Somalian pirates and the one who becamd an after thought to the "dead or alive" village idiot.
    Where's the rest of the pack of clowns? Still standingip in the muck in iowa?
    BTW cnn – no story on romneycare selling his 3,000 sq ft house to buy one just a tad larger? He now needs a 11,000sq ft house to accommodate his five children and, if I heard correctly this morning on channel 4 in DC, 25 grandchildren!! If this it true imagine him explaining this while so many Americans are beingg forced out of their homes and how dard him badh Obama gor goinb on a well deserved vacation! Thd millionaird hypocrite!!

    August 22, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |

    As usual the rethuglicans give no credit to the President or our great country in helping to bring this change about. is anyone surprised at that? The war mongers wanted the US to invade them as a third US war when obviously there was no need to invade, the US simply had to become part of the UN force to accomplish the mission, yet the war mongers yelled at the time that the US should be in charge. So the question for them is why? Money in their pockets perhaps?

    August 22, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  22. bethjoyce

    I wonder who wrote Gov. Rick Perry's statement. It certainly wasn't him.

    August 22, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  23. logic in LA

    And Bachmann said:" What's a Gadhafi?

    August 22, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  24. Al-NY,NY

    A bunch of pansies that will give Obama NO credit for attaining this victory but sure as you know what would have jumped all over him if things held on. The Bachmann/Santorum replies are anxiously awaited as they will not hesitate to blast Obama no matter what

    August 22, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  25. Big Al

    First of all, the freedom revolutions in the Middle East....Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria are the direct result of Sarah Palin staying in the spotlight and promoting peace and freedom. You can thank her for what is happening. This would not have happened if Sarah Palin just faded after 2008. Everyone must pray 5 times a day that she runs for president and wins the nomination. She would be equal George Washington, Abe Lincoln, FDR, JFK. She is what America needs.

    August 22, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
1 2 3