Candidates on Bhutto assassination

Statements from the big three Dems and quick-hit commentary:

Obama: “I am shocked and saddened by the death of Benazir Bhutto in this terrorist atrocity. She was a respected and resilient advocate for the democratic aspirations of the Pakistani people. We join with them in mourning her loss and stand with them in their quest for democracy and against the terrorists who threaten the common security of the world.”
– Pretty tame, straightforward. He’ll likely frame this as an issue demonstrating the importance of judgment in foreign policy, along the lines of his current themes.

Clinton, Edwards, Dodd and Biden after the jump…

Clinton: “I am profoundly saddened and outraged by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, a leader of tremendous political and personal courage. I came to know Mrs. Bhutto over many years, during her tenures as Prime Minister and during her years in exile. […] Let us pray that her legacy will be a brighter, more hopeful future for the people she loved and the country she served.”
– I expected something a little more impassioned, as she apparently knew Bhutto pretty well, but she too hits the important notes. She’ll frame this as demonstrating the importance of experience.

Edwards: “Benazir Bhutto was a brave and historic leader for Pakistan. Her assassination is a sad and solemn event, and our hearts go out to her family and to the Pakistani people . . . I have seen firsthand in Pakistan, and in meetings with Prime Minister Bhutto and President Musharraf, the instability of the country and the complexity of the challenges they face. At this critical moment, America must convey both strength and principle.”
– This is a pretty savvy statement from Edwards, as it includes the appropriate mentions of sorrow but also includes his “firsthand” experience with Pakistan including “meetings with” Bhutto and Musharraf. A gentle reminder that his foreign policy resume perhaps isn’t quite so thin as sometimes alleged.

Dodd and Biden both had solid statements as well, with the only outlier being Richardson, who called for Musharraf to step down. That is, of course, a terrible idea — the last thing you want is a leaderless nuclear nation in a time of crisis during the lead up to likely-postponed elections. But everybody else handled this well.

A final note: the people on my teevee are already telling me this will help Hillary and Giuliani. I think that’s totally ridiculous, and it’s time we stop assuming that any crisis benefits the (perceived) most hawkish candidates. Plus, as I said earlier today, ultimately I’m pretty skeptical about the impact of this on the primaries. But we’ll see.

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