Romney, Perry congratulate Obama; Perry gives backhanded praise

Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry and Mitt Romney both congratulated President Obama on the successful drone strike that killed al Qaeda terrorist Anwar Al-Awlaki.

"The killing of Anwar al-Awlaki is a major victory in our fight against Islamist terrorism and proper justice for the numerous attacks and plots he inspired or planned against America," the former Massachusetts governor said in a statement on Friday.

"I commend the President, the members of the intelligence community, our service members, and our allies for their continued efforts to keep Americans safe. Nevertheless, we must remain vigilant and continue the fight against those who seek to destroy us and our freedoms."

Similarly, Perry congratulated Obama but also said it was Obama's adherence to the counterterrorism policies of the Bush administration that lead to Awlaki's death.

"I want to congratulate the United States military and intelligence communities – and President Obama for sticking with the government's longstanding and aggressive anti-terror policies – for getting another key international terrorist," the Texas governor said in a statement.

On Friday, the Obama administration announced that a drone strike in Yemen had killed the American-born cleric Awlaki. In a speech later on, Obama hailed the mission as "another significant milestone" in defeating al Qaeda. The Obama administration has been praised by both Republicans and Democrats for its successes in taking out top al Qaeda operatives, including Osama bin Laden, who was killed during a carefully planned Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan.