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News of the death of Libyan strongman Mommar Gadhafi spread through Capitol Hill Thursday and brought mostly relief, some skepticism and bad news for Republicans who saw another opportunity to criticize President Barack Obama slip away.
“Every time a despot falls we lose a chance to nail Obama for foreign policy failures,” grumbled a GOP staff member for the Senate foreign relations committee. “With bin Laden gone and now Gadhafi, we’re running out of fodder on foreign policy issues.”
While the death of Gadhafi isn’t seen as a political boon for Obama with voters it could give him some relief from the pounding he took on Capitol Hill for involving the United States in the rebel uprising in Libya.
“The second guessers will be quiet for a while, that’s for sure,” said an aide to former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
Over in Speaker John Boehner‘s office, the mood was somber.
“Damnit, it never helps when this kind of thing happens on Obama’s watch,” said a senior aide. “Democrats aren’t supposed to have these kinds of successes. This is Republican territory.”
Publicly, however, Boehner offered praise for news of Gadhafi’s death.
“This is a turning point for the Libyan people’s pursuit of freedom,” the House Speaker said. “Now it is time for Libya’s Transitional National Council to show the world that it will respect the rights of all Libyans, guide the nation to democracy, and work with the international coalition and its neighbors to secure Libya’s borders and any weapons and weapons materials.”
Still Republicans couched their praises without any direct link to U.S. involvement with the rebels inLibya.