GOP senators push for regime change in Libya; Graham backs targeting Gadhafi

After a NATO strike killed members of Moammar Gadhafi's family in Tripoli, a handful of senators reiterated their calls for the Libyan dictator to be ousted from power.

On the Sunday talk shows Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said that Gadhafi should be removed from power. 

Their comments come less than 24 hours after a NATO attack narrowly missed Gadhafi but killed his youngest son and three of his grandchildren, according to the Libyan government.

The three GOP senators all warned that it would be dangerous to leave Gadhafi in power and McCain said he was "fine" with Gadhafi being killed in a bombing.

"In my view, wherever Gadhafi goes, he is the legitimate military target. He's the command and control source. He's not the legitimate leader of Libya. And the way to get to this to end is to go after the people around him and his support network," Graham said on "Fox News Sunday." "So, I support what NATO is doing."

Similarly, Rubio said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that the worst possible scenario would be for Gadhafi to be allowed to stay in power.

“For Moammar Gadhafi to hold on to power in Libya would be the worst possible scenario I could imagine,” Rubio said.

McCain stressed his previous calls for the U.S. to retake control over the operation in Libya after it handed over command to NATO.

"We should be taking out his command and control, and if he is killed or injured because of that, that's fine," McCain said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

When the United Nations Security Council passed a no-fly zone resolution for Libya the United States took the lead in enforcing it before handing command over to NATO.

Conrad said the way to oust Gadhafi was to take out the "pillars" propping him up.

"Look, Gadhafi has got to go," Conrad also said on "Face the Nation." "I said repeatedly, I think you go after the pillars of his power. And the pillars of his power are the regimes that are controlled by his sons, the mercenaries that he's brought in from other countries, his money and his tribe."

When asked whether he was okay with assassinating Gadhafi directly, Conrad said that there were "legal issues" involved in doing that.

"Well, we have legal issues I'm not an expert on. It is stated policy that we are not targeting an individual," Conrad said.

The comments from the senators come after the Obama administration announced roughly two weeks ago that it had authorized the use of aerial predator drones in Libya. Before the U.S. got involved in Libya in March, Obama and lawmakers across the political spectrum had been calling for Gadhafi to relinquish power. When the president authorized U.S. involvement in Libya, he pledged not to put any American boots on the ground.

The Obama administration has repeatedly said it wants Gadhafi removed from power but the Libyan people, not the U.S. would have to remove him. The U.S. presence is to protect Libyan civilians from Gadhafi's military, the administration has said.