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. seriously???

    @Democrat Class Warfare – Destroying the economy, destroying the country... you need your own show on Comedy Central. You are hilarious.

    August 22, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "To Caesar what is of Caesar...".
    Give credit where credit is due GOTeatards, or are you too simple and small-minded to praise our President in regards to his on the record results-producing approach to Lybia,which by the by differed greatly from your Cowboy Foreign Policy technique.
    Obama 2012

    August 22, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  3. w l jones

    There were an ancient lake or Ocean out in the desert so now the Libyan can create thousand of job by turning there country back to old bread basket for this area again. We the west have a stake in that area because we owe I way of life to a certain degree to the people in this area. Bless.

    August 22, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. diridi

    I give 100% credit to Obama. He did excellent job. Dennis Kushnich is a crazy idiot. That bastard wants to sue. I vote for Obama. I Like his policies. Way to go, Obama!!!!!God bless you....and the USA!!!!AMEN....

    August 22, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  5. carrotroot

    Romney's comments always seem opportunistic ... I think the people of Libya have more immediate concerns than trying to extradite the Pan-am bomber to the US. This was not the reason why we intervened.

    August 22, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  6. MTATL67

    To the GOP and fiscal terrorist group the Tea Party critics that is how you remove a dictator 0 American deaths and not spending billions upon billions of dollars or using some lame excuse of WOM. More proof that our allies that went to war with us in Iraq and lost soldiers of their own can take the lead. Don't want to hear any more lies and hypocrisy from the extremist or their Conservey's allies.

    August 22, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The Republicans just don't get it, this is a NATO led effort alongside with the Libyian Rebels and not the time for the U.S. just to butt in demanding this and that, Bush days are long over and we don't need another Bush and wars.

    August 22, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  8. janedoe

    To: Demo Class Warfare – I'm so glad Obama doesn't fly off the handle like that. You certainly couldn't be a leader of anything. Must be a TP follower.

    August 22, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  9. SecedingfromTexas

    @Democrat Class Warfare – Destroying................
    The Lybian "war" cost the US a little over @1B.
    Military force was not used, threfore, NO American military lives lost.
    The United States joined NATO, which was supported by the Arab League, thereby allowing intervention. America
    used drones and maintained no-fly zones.
    Whether or not Khaddafi staying or going meant anyhing to you is irrelevant. It meant something to the people who
    were being slaughtered, jailed, and maligned by the terrorist regime. The Arab League didn't like it, and I repeat, they
    supported NATO's use of no-fly zones and Euro-American intervention.
    If America loses its compassion, then you can say we have lost credibility.
    But for you to compare this to the truly illegal invasion of Iraq is irrationa.

    August 22, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. diridi

    @democrat class war fare destroying the economy, Dude, you are the most racist and idiot I ever saw in my 55 years of life, it is not democratic class war fare, it is Bush's Iraq War fare, and Idiot Reagan's Trickle Down economy where Rich escaped paying taxes, and looting this nation, sending jobs overseas, idiot, where were you....all these are happening. Today, you call any 1800 number, they go to here in USA, jobs are gradually coming back, I bet, do not surprise, one day, even Manufacturing jobs are back.....do not be racist, and braindead....idiot.....learn from your internet, go to school...at least....idiot...

    August 22, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  11. MiddleOfTheRoad

    Will President Obama get away with making statements like these?

    Apparently, these 3 are waiting for a while to say what they would have done had they been President.

    August 22, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  12. A

    Every U.S. president since the time of Nixon has had to deal with Gadhafi and has been unable to get rid of him. Even President Reagan launched an unsuccessful strike against him. President Obama is the only president to have successfully organized, coordinated, and implemented a strategy with NATO despite all the negative criticism from the other side of the aisle that has resulted in Gadhafi's demise. And, as usual he gets no credit.

    August 22, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  13. rs

    These clowns are too funny.
    When the civil war began, the GOP/TP was falling all over themselves to try to beat up Obama for "leading from behind" (Bachmann), and not getting on board fast enough to help the rebels. Then the GOP/TP pivoted 180 degrees because they were afraid the rebels might be fundimentalist Muslims (huh?). Then, true lunatics like Cain floated the idea that they wanted to IMPEACH Obama for providing material support to the rebels (no troops) and NATO, and the rest of the GOP rabble followed. They tried to equate this relatively small, economically cheap ($1 billion) event to their disasterous and costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now that its a done deal- well, a great victory. As Phil said above NOT ONE mention of the role this administration, or NATO played in the event.

    Republicans are such creeps, and they aren't really Americans anymore.

    August 22, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  14. A Kickin ' Donkey

    Moving with speed & force to de-fang Libyian air defenses in the face of 435 different opinions in the House of Represetatives. Building and enabling a coalition of European & Arab countries to be full partners in the action. Zero American lives lost. The most COST EFFECTIVE removal of a dictator in modern history. Well done Mr. President.

    August 22, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  15. Babe

    Interesting that Huntsman who voiced several times that Obama should be impeached for taking us into Libya now sees the removal of this dictator a "defeat [that] is a step toward openness, democracy and human rights..." Every one of these hypocrites wanted Congress to find a way to thwart Obama's cooperation with NATO on this mission, and now they'll all claim what a good thing it was, and Obama had nothing to do with it, despite their wanting to castigate him for it at the same time. Yes, we know, if Obama said "day," they would say "night."

    August 22, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  16. xy55

    One prominent GOPer said that Rick Perry is an "Idiot". Clearly he is not the only ane among these guys.
    What a shame!!!

    August 22, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  17. coy4one

    It was the right decision for Obama and I stand by the President. His support of the rebels and by allowing NATO to run the support campaign shows that we can influence without the George W. way of doing things, and all-out war!

    August 22, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  18. Joe

    You Demorats are smoking the pipe if you think Obama should get any credit for the overthrow

    August 22, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  19. Larry L

    President Obama handled this interaction masterfully. We never put troops on the ground, the flow of oil continued from the Mid-East, we never became the bad guy in the eyes of the Arab World, and we didn't start a third war as many Republicans would have chosen. Best of all, the rebels had a dog in the fight and now feel responsible for their country. Good job Mr. President!

    August 22, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. MrBB

    So now we will have a huge power vacuum left in Libya

    August 22, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  21. Clwyd

    But not one word that Obama's foreign policy on this matter helped to bring the downfall? No, these republicans would have sent in US troops as McCain wanted and Bush would have done, wasting American lives over using drone. Republicans have this double standard! "Party before the people!"

    August 22, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. Paul ny

    Funny how Republicans were calling for Obama to be impeached over the issue , and now they are sitting back and thanking everyone in the world beside the President for removing this horrible dictator. Typical Republican flip-flopping. Did we really expect any less from the cowardly Republicans?

    August 22, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |

    Mr. Romney needs to check facts every now and then. The guy was convicted already; he was released from prison on compassionate grounds, as, he's got terminal prostate cancer.
    LOL. Romney thought he was schooling us on his foreign affairs/policy expertise. Doesn't he know the whole planet knows about Wikipedia, Google, the interwebs?! Mr. Romney's transparent pandering to the teabaggery nonsense is undignified.

    August 22, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  24. Cody

    4 responses, 4 spellings of Gadafi's name. Can anyone figure out how to spell this guys name after his 42 years of leadership?

    August 22, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  25. dakster

    Really, politician Rick Santorum.....can you or will you ever just give the President credit when credit is do. Knowing you.....probably not! If President Bush was still in office, I guarantee your response would have been different. Good luck with winning the Republican primary. If there is a God.....you will come in last place.

    August 22, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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