In separate interviews with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Monday night, several presumed candidates for the Republican presidential nomination said Obama should have taken a tougher stance in responding to the crisis in Libya, with some going so far as to suggest directly arming or otherwise aiding anti-Gaddafi rebel groups.
A number of presidential aspirants, including Newt Gingrich, were in Iowa on Monday to take part in a conservative conference. Gingrich offered the sharpest criticism of the Obama administration — and the broadest counter-proposal for how he would have handled Libya were he President.
“The idea we are confused about a man who has been an anti-American dictator since 1969 tells you how inept this administration is,” Gingrich said.
Gingrich said that were he currently in the White House, he would immediately impose a no-fly zone. But he then went further, saying he would “provide help to the rebels” who are fighting Gaddafi to help quickly oust the Libyan leader.
“This is a moment to get rid of him,” Gingrich said. “Do it. Get it over with.”
“The United States doesn’t need anybody’s permission,” Gingrich added. “We don’t need to have NATO, who frankly won’t bring much to the fight. We don’t need the United Nations.”
While Gingrich said the United States should not send its own troops into the country, he did say there were other ways to help, “if that means getting them weapons, or whatever that means.”
Gingrich was not alone in expressing that sentiment. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty also said he would, “absolutely consider — and likely deploy — a no-fly zone.”
Then there was Van Susteren’s interview with Herman Cain, the former pizza chain CEO who now hosts a talk radio program. Cain suggested that the U.S. should make moves behind the scenes to directly assist anti-Gaddafi forces in Libya, though he said he wasn’t sure what that would entail.
“I don’t know all of the covert ways to do that because I’m not privy to that information,” Cain said, “but we need to be supporting the people who are putting their lives on the line to change Libya.”
In another interesting tidbit, Cain criticized Obama for not only trying to change the Constitution, but for also trying to rewrite the Declaration of Independence.
“When the President of the United States tries to recite a portion of the Declaration of Independence and leaves out, on purpose, three times, ‘endowed by their creator,’ something’s wrong,” Cain said.
“The founding fathers got it right. Why do we need to rewrite it?” Cain asked. “What people are saying is, ‘Don’t try to rewrite the Declaration. Don’t Try to rewrite the Constitution.’”