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Candidates React to Bhutto News


Benazir Bhutto, at the rally in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, shortly before she was killed. (Getty).

Updated 2:06
While they are making their way from town hall meetings to rallies in Iowa and New Hampshire, candidates from both parties expressed sympathy for the Bhutto family and concern about the terrorist threat worldwide following the news from Pakistan that former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated today at a political rally.

In addition to Sen. Hillary Clinton's speech on Bhutto this morning in Lawton, Iowa, Sen. Joe Biden, who said he had spoken with Bhutto this fall, issued remarks on her death this morning.

The majority of the campaigns have released statements on Bhutto's death:

"We are still learning the details of today's tragic events in Pakistan, but this is a stark reminder that America must not only stay on high alert, but remain actively engaged across the globe," Mitt Romney said in his statement, adding "At this difficult time, our thoughts and prayers go to the family of Benazir Bhutto, and to all the people of Pakistan who are fighting against extremist forces that would commit such heinous acts as the whole world has witnessed today."

From Sen. Barack Obama: "I am shocked and saddened by the death of Benazir Bhutto in this terrorist atrocity. She was a respected and resilient advocate for the democratic aspirations of the Pakistani people. We join with them in mourning her loss, and stand with them in their quest for democracy and against the terrorists who threaten the common security of the world."

Sen. John McCain's statement expressed his condolences for the Bhutto family and said that he had made "numerous visits to Pakistan" and "seen first hand the many challenges that face the political leadership there, challenges so graphically portrayed by today's tragedy." McCain also noted that Bhutto's death "underscores yet again the grave dangers we face in the world today and particularly in countries like Pakistan, where the forces of moderation are arrayed in a fierce battle against those who embrace violent Islamic extremism."

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who noted that he had met with Bhutto several times over the years, said Bhutto "represented a courageous effort to bring principles of liberty to Pakistan. She was truly dedicated to the people of Pakistan."

From Gov. Bill Richardson's statement: "Benazir Bhutto was a courageous woman. Her death, and the deaths of so many of her supporters, is more than just a tragedy. It is a testament to the will of the Pakistani people to see democracy restored. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who died today."

Sen. Chris Dodd noted his personal connection to the murdered leader: "As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, I have had the opportunity to travel to Pakistan and come to know Former Prime Minister Bhutto very well over the years. I spoke to her personally several weeks ago and have stayed in close contact with her since. She was a respected leader who played an important part in moving Pakistan toward democracy. As we recognize the loss of a leader today, we must also recognize the implication of today's tragedy to the security of the region and to that of the United States."

Said former senator John Edwards: "Benazir Bhutto was a brave and historic leader for Pakistan. Her assassination is a sad and solemn event, and our hearts go out to her family and to the Pakistani people. But we will not let this contemptible, cowardly act delay the march of progress in Pakistan for a single second. I have seen firsthand in Pakistan, and in meetings with Prime Minister Bhutto and President Musharraf, the instability of the country and the complexity of the challenges they face....We should do everything in our power to help bring the perpetrators of this heinous act to justice and to ensure that Bhutto's movement toward democracy continues."

Mike Huckabee weighed in: ""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."

And Joe Biden issued a heartfelt and lengthy statement along with a copy of a letter he, Sen. Joe Lieberman and Sen. Patrick Leahy sent to Pakistani President Pervaiz Musharraf in October, urging greater security for Bhutto in the wake of "the October 18 suicide attack during a rally welcoming Pakistan Peoples Party leader Benazir Bhutto."

From Biden's statement: "This is a terrible day. My heart goes out to Benazir Bhutto's family, friends and followers.

"Like her father before her, Benazir Bhutto worked her whole life - and gave her life - to help Pakistan become a democratic, secular and modern Muslim country. She was a woman of extraordinary courage who returned to Pakistan in the face of death threats and even after an assassination attempt the day of her return, she did not flinch. It was a privilege to know her these many years and to call her a friend.

"I am convinced Ms. Bhutto would have won free and fair elections next week. The fact that she was by far Pakistan's most popular leader underscores the fact that there is a vast, moderate majority in Pakistan that must have a clear voice in the system....

"The way to honor Benazir Bhutto is to uphold the values for which she gave her life: democracy, moderation and social justice. I join with the Pakistani people in mourning the loss of a dear friend."

Former senator and GOP candidate Fred Thompson discussed Bhutto's death during a television interview today.

"It reminds us that things can happen in faraway places of the world that can affect the United States," he said. "I think this should be of great concern to us. It is almost a perfect storm in a very bad sense because two forces are operating against each other that are both desirable. One is democracy: they were making progress in that regard in that country. Former prime minister Bhutto was an important part of that process. But the other is stability. Pakistan is a nuclear country, and we cannot afford to let nukes fall into the hands of dangerous Muslim radicals."

By Washington Post editors  |  December 27, 2007; 12:06 PM ET
 
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Comments

Conventional wisdom is speaking far too soon. Time will tell whether Pakistan's instability will continue to be a problem. So long as the world makes no more noise than usual, this year's race will focus on immigration, fiscal responsibility, health care, and other domestic policy matters. Foreign policy concerns will center on the war on terror, which is more about principles than it is about specific foreign policy experience.

The verdict is, unless a major crisis develops in Pakistan, lack of foreign policy experience is not a deal-breaker this year.

(Unrelated to this topic, please visit my political blog, Plumb Bob Blog: Squaring the Culture, at www.plumbbobblog.com. Thanks.)

Of course, we're not even addressing the question about what foreign policy experience H. Clinton has in the first place...

Posted by: PlumbBobBlog | December 27, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Conventional wisdom will say that heavy news coverage of the gun and bomb attack will bolster the arguments of Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), both members of the Armed Services Committee. ... That same instant will say that the candidates most damaged will be Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Will Bhutto's death kill Obama's & Huckabee's momentum in Iowa?

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=1380

.

Posted by: PollM | December 27, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

While candidates are anxious to state they met Bhutto, we have a glimpse of what Bhutto thought about Obama's policy- bottomline she is in agreement
with his quest to take out terrorists

BHUTTO: Well, I wouldn't like the United States to violate Pakistan's sovereignty with unauthorized military operations. But the issue that I would like to stress is that Barack Obama also said, if Pakistan won't act. And that's the critical issue, that the government has to act. And the government has to act to protect Pakistan's own serenity and integrity, its own respect, and to understand that if it creates a vacuum, then others aren't going to just twiddle their thumbs while militants freely move across the border.

Posted by: FebM | December 27, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

LOL JakeD.

You might have hit on something!
Make all Representatives go though a screening!

LOL, we would then have start a Draft to fill the jobs!

Soooo, YOU wanna be Prez, Huh? Slip this on!

NOW, are YOU gonna look out for the People?

LOL!

As far as reliability, usually their best results come in finding who is willing to be tested in the first place!

Posted by: rat-the | December 27, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

rat-the:

Perhaps we could hook up Romney to a polygraph and ask him one simple question "Do you believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers?" If he refuses to be tested, is that almost as good as a guilty plea too?

Seriously, lie detectors are not 100% reliable, and that's why they are not allowed as contested evidence in trial.

Posted by: JakeD | December 27, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I support Mitt Romney for President because I consider myself to be able to objectively evaluate things.
As I have said I judge a Faith by it's Followers, and consider Mitt Romney a Compliment to his Faith.

Consider Mitt's Suporters, as I call on the President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, who I believe innocent, and Nawaz Sharif, to allow themselves to be-

POLYGRAPH TESTED!

One simple question,

Were YOU involved in the assasination of Benazir Bhutto?

Then, realize, a refusal to be tested, is almost as good as a guilty plea!

I did not come up with RAT, for NO reason!

Break out the Polygraph Ban Ki Moon!

Posted by: rat-the | December 27, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

"America was knowing the fate of Benazir"?! What do you mean, like, we ALL die sooner or later? I certainly hope you are not voting here in America if you really think we are "responsible" for her assassination. Don't tell me, you think that George Bush personally planted demolitions at the WTC too?

Posted by: JakeD | December 27, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

AMERICA RESPONSIBLE
America under Bush-Chenney has so much gutted into the eyes of the Muslim World, any Muslim leader (including Bhutto), who ever is being supported by America is considered as Traitor in the eyes of Muslims and her/his end come sooner and in death. America was knowing the fate of Benazir. She was the wrong person to lead Pakistan, the land of Taliban at this time and She was sacrificed wrongly by America for no good reason.
Rather than sending our puppets, America should look to our foreign policy in depth and make it just, fair and humane

Posted by: citysoilverizonnet | December 27, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

The White House also weighed in and "condem[ned] the acts of violence". In a televised speech President George W. Bush referred to the assassination as a "cowardly act by murderous extremists" and stated that the "criminals" responsible "must be brought to justice".

Posted by: JakeD | December 27, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Mike Huckabee released a statement as well: "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."

http://www.mikehuckabee.com/?FuseAction=Newsroom.PressRelease&ID=457

Posted by: JakeD | December 27, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Rudy's statement: "The assassination of Benazir Bhutto is a tragic event for Pakistan and for democracy in Pakistan. Her murderers must be brought to justice and Pakistan must continue the path back to democracy and the rule of law. Her death is a reminder that terrorism anywhere -- whether in New York, London, Tel-Aviv or Rawalpindi -- is an enemy of freedom. We must redouble our efforts to win the Terrorists' War on Us."

http://www.joinrudy2008.com/article/pr/1102

Posted by: JakeD | December 27, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

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