Even days after the president's address to the nation, criticizing Operation Odyssey Dawn remains a top talking point amongst GOP presidential hopefuls. All seem eager to reprimand President Obama, though the alternatives they provide vary. If put in Obama's position—which many have hinted they covet—each say they would have acted opposite of Obama. We take a look back at this week's GOP critiques of the commander in chief.
Sarah Palin: Obama's "squirmish" is "dubious."
Speaking on Fox News, the former vice-presidential candidate said that Obama's address on Libya further proved that the " 'Obama doctrine' is full of chaos and questions." Palin's labeling of the intervention as a "squirmish"—instead of a skirmish—bounced around the web and blogosphere, bringing more publicity to the undeclared GOP presidential contender.
Tim Pawlenty: Response was "timid."
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty was quick to fault Obama for not being quick enough. On March 29, the day after Obama spoke to the nation about military actions in Libya, Pawlenty told MSNBC's Morning Joe that he would have acted before Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi's forces had stifled the rebels' "substantial momentum." Pawlenty is the first serious contender to announce that he is forming an exploratory committee to pursue his candidacy for president.
Newt Gingrich: "Frankly, I don't know what they're trying to accomplish."
The former speaker of the House and likely presidential contender has been accused of flip-flopping to whatever side Obama isn't on in the Libyan intervention. But in an effort to prove his consistency, Gingrich's team released the above video this week to prove that Gingrich has always called for stronger leadership in Libya than the Obama administration has provided.
Michele Bachmann: "I would not have gone in."
As opposed to her more aggressive tea party members, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., a darling of the movement, told NBC's Matt Lauer on March 30 that she would not have sent American troops into Libya. Bachmann has not announced her decision on whether or not to run for president, but told NBC's Meet the Press, "We need to make sure that we don’t have a second Barack Obama administration.”
Rick Santorum: President is "disinterested."
In a March 30 interview on the Fox News program On the Record, former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., condemned Obama for delaying action. "He simply didn't do anything until the United Nations sort of forced his hand." Before Obama addressed the nation, Santorum called Obama "disinterested, detached, ambivalent, and indecisive." Santorum was until recently a paid Fox News contributor, but that deal was suspended while he contemplates running for president.
Mitt Romney: Obama is "unable to construct any foreign policy."
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has turned his focus from Libya to jobs and the economy this week. But on March 21, following the first air strikes by U.S. forces over Libya, Romney said Obama's failure to believe in "American exceptionalism" has left him "without a compass to guide him in our increasingly turbulent world." Romney, who is considered the front runner for the GOP nomination, called Obama "tentative, indecisive, timid, and nuanced” on The Hugh Hewitt Show.
Donald Trump: “Where do you stop?”
"The Donald" has been lighting up the media with his remarks on the Libyan crisis, even regaling Fox News show Fox and Friends with the story of the time he "screwed" Qaddafi on using his land while in the United States. Most recently, Trump told Fox's Bill O'Reilly, “I support stopping that kind of a slaughter. The problem is where do you stop? We’ve got other countries that are doing worse than this guy ever dreamed of.” Trump has stressed that he will not make a decision on a presidential run until June, although his planned visits to Iowa and New Hampshire are the cause of much speculation. He recently made headlines for questioning whether Obama was born in the United States.
Catherine Hollander contributed. contributed to this article.