WASHINGTON -- Just after President Obama made the most important announcement of his presidency, the field of candidates hoping to unseat him began reacting to the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed.
"Welcome to hell, bin Laden," former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said, in one of the bluntest statements.
The shocking news is likely to temporarily divert away from any talk of the economy and high gas prices -- topics that Republican candidates have focused on in recent months. It could also bolster Obama's low approval ratings, and could expose a Republican presidential field that so far lacks a candidate with substantial foreign policy experience.
Several candidates gave Obama credit for the death of the man responsible for the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
"I want to congratulate America's armed forces and President Obama for a job well done," said former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.
"Congratulations to our intelligence community, our military and the president," said former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
"I want to personally congratulate President Obama and the men and women of the Armed Forces for a job well done," said celebrity business mogul Donald Trump.
Here are the complete statements for the potential candidates who have issued reactions so far:
MICHELE BACHMANN: I want to express my deepest gratitude to the men and women of the U.S. military and intelligence community. Their persistence and dedicated service has yielded success in a mission that has gripped our nation since the terrible events of 9/11. Tonight’s news does not bring back the lives of the thousands of innocent people who were killed that day by Osama bin Laden’s horrific plan, and it does not end the threat posed by terrorists, but it is my hope that this is the beginning of the end of Sharia-compliant terrorism.
NEWT GINGRICH: The killing of Osama bin Laden is a significant victory in the long struggle between radical Islamists and modern civilization. This victory is a tribute to the patient endurance of American justice. I commend both President George W. Bush who led the campaign against our enemies through seven long years and President Obama who continued and intensified the campaign in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. We should remember to thank those who made this possible. Without the courage and professionalism of our men and women in uniform and in the intelligence services, this victory would not have been achieved. This victory is only a milestone in a long war. We must also recognize the long struggle ahead. Radical Islamism did not start with bin Laden and it will not end with his death. This is the 32nd year since the Iranian dictatorship seized our diplomats illegally and held them hostage for 444 days. It has been 28 years since Iranian-supported terrorists killed 241 servicemen in Beirut in 1983. As long as there are schools teaching children to hate; as long as there are state-supported terrorist systems; as long as several countries actively recruit children to be suicide bombers; this war will continue. The world is a better place without Osama bin Laden, but his just demise cannot erase the loss and suffering of the families and friends of those who died on September 11 or died fighting in the war since September 11. So while we are celebrating this victory, we should take time to remember all who suffered and sacrificed and pray for them.
MIKE HUCKABEE: It is unusual to celebrate a death, but today Americans and decent people the world over cheer the news that madman, murderer and terrorist Osama Bin Laden is dead. The leader of Al Qaeda--- responsible for the deaths of 3000 innocent citizens on September 11, 2001, and whose maniacal hate is responsible for the deaths of thousands of US servicemen and women was killed by U.S. military. President Obama confirmed the announcement late last night. DNA tests confirmed his death and his body is in the possession of the U. S. It has taken a long time for this monster to be brought to justice. Welcome to hell, bin Laden. Let us all hope that his demise will serve notice to Islamic radicals the world over that the United States will be relentless in tracking down and terminating those who would inflict terror, mayhem and death on any of our citizens."
SARAH PALIN: Americans tonight are united in celebration and gratitude. God bless all the brave men and women in our military and our intelligence services who contributed to carrying out the successful mission to bring Bin Laden to justice and who laid the groundwork over the years to make this victory possible. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of these brave Americans who relentlessly hunted down our enemy. This is a victory for the American people, for the victims who were heartlessly murdered on September 11 and in Al Qaeda’s other numerous attacks, and for all the peace-loving people of the world. May God bless our troops and our intelligence services, and God bless America!
TIM PAWLENTY: This is terrific news for freedom and justice. In the hours after the 9/11 attacks, President Bush promised that America would bring Osama bin Laden to justice — and we did. I want to congratulate America's armed forces and President Obama for a job well done. Let history show that the perseverance of the US military and the American people never wavered. America will never shrink from the fight and ultimately those who seek to harm us face only defeat. Today, justice is done, but the fight against radical Islamic terrorism is not yet over."
MITT ROMNEY: This is a great victory for lovers of freedom and justice everywhere. Congratulations to our intelligence community, our military and the president. My thoughts are with the families of Osama bin Laden's many thousands of victims, and the brave servicemen and women who have laid down their lives in pursuit of this murderous terrorist.
RICK SANTORUM: This is extraordinary news for all freedom loving people of the world, and I commend all those involved for this historic triumph. Americans have waited nearly ten years for the news of Osama bin Laden's death. And while this is a very significant objective that cannot be minimized, the threat from Jihadism does not die with bin Laden. As we were vigilant in taking him out we need to demonstrate we will continue to be vigilant until the enemy has been subdued.
DONALD TRUMP: I want to personally congratulate President Obama and the men and women of the Armed Forces for a job well done. I am so proud to see Americans standing shoulder to shoulder, waving the American flag in celebration of this great victory. We should spend the next several days not debating party politics, but in remembrance of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and those currently fighting for our freedom. God Bless America!
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.