President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden broke the dramatic news themselves to top Republican and Democratic congressional leaders in telephone calls in the evening before Obama’s televised announcement -- prompting a wave of bipartisan celebration.
Hill Republicans did not hesitate to commend Obama, but many also reminded that the vow to bring bin Laden to justice dated to formerPresident George W. Bush.
In a statement on bin Laden’s death, Bush said, “Earlier this evening, President Obama called to inform me that American forces killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al-Qaida network that attacked America on September 11, 2001.
I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission. They have our everlasting gratitude.
This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.”
(PICTURES: World Reacts to Bin Laden Death)
House Speaker John Boehner, who was in Washington and was notified by Obama himself, said in a statement that “this is great news for the security of the American people and a victory in our continued fight against al-Qaida and radical extremism around the world.”
“We continue to face a complex and evolving terrorist threat, and it is important that we remain vigilant in our efforts to confront and defeat the terrorist enemy and protect the American people. I want to congratulate -- and thank -- the hard-working men and women of our Armed Forces and intelligence community for their tireless efforts and perseverance that led to this success,” said Boehner.
“I also want to commend President Obama and his team, as well as President Bush, for all of their efforts to bring Osama bin Laden to justice,” said Boehner.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who was notified by Biden, called the death of bin Laden “the most significant development in our fight against al-Qaida” and praised the nation’s intelligence community.
“I salute President Obama, his national security team, Director Panetta, our men and women in the intelligence community and military, and other nations who supported this effort for their leadership in achieving this major accomplishment,” said Pelosi.
“As we approach the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I hope that today’s action provides some comfort to the 9/11 families who lost loved ones in the devastating attacks on our shores.”
Senate Armed Services ranking member Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said he was “overjoyed that we finally got the world’s top terrorist.”
The world is a better and more just place now that Osama bin Laden is no longer in it,” said McCain. “But while we take heart in the news that Osama bin Laden is dead, we must be mindful that al-Qaeda and its terrorist allies are still lethal and determined enemies, and we must remain vigilant to defeat them.”
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that bin Laden’s death “closes an important chapter in our war against extremists who kill innocent people around the world.”
“We are a nation of peace and laws, and people everywhere should understand that our ten-year manhunt was in search of justice not revenge,” Kerry said in a statement. “Terrorists everywhere must never doubt that the United States will hunt them down no matter where they are, no matter how long it takes... A single death does not end the threat from al-Qaida and its affiliated groups. We must remain vigilant and committed to keeping the world safe and secure.”
Former Ark. Gov. Mike Huckabee said, “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.