2012 hopefuls push pause on politics

Republicans vying for their party's 2012 presidential nomination took a break from politics to toast President Obama and members of the military and intelligence community following the successful assassination of Osama bin Laden. 

The candidates, like many other Republicans issuing statements on the killing of the al Qaeda leader, joined in the jubilation and avoided criticism of Obama and any of his national security policies.

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"Welcome to hell, bin Laden," said former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R). "Let us all hope that his demise will serve notice to Islamic radicals the world over that the United States will be relentless is tracking down and terminating those who would inflict terror, mayhem and death on any of our citizens."

Both former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), and Donald Trump singled out Obama personally for praise in addition to offering praise for servicemembers. 

"Congratulations to our intelligence community, our military and the president," Romney said in a statement. "My thoughts are with the families of Osama bin Laden's many thousands of victims, and the brave servicemen and women who have laid down their lives in pursuit of this murderous terrorist.”

Pawlenty said: "In the hours after the 9/11 attacks, President Bush promised that America would bring Osama bin Laden to justice — and we did. I want to congratulate America's armed forces and President Obama for a job well done. Let history show that the perseverance of the US military and the American people never wavered."

Trump, the real estate mogul considering running for president who's been one of Obama's harshest critics, also set politics aside.

"I want to personally congratulate President Obama and the men and women of the Armed Forces for a job well done," Trump said Monday in a statement. "We should spend the next several days not debating party politics, but in remembrance of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and those currently fighting for our freedom."

Obama announced that the U.S. had successfully killed bin Laden in a Sunday night address. While the news sparked immediate celebrations and praise for the government (a throng gathered in front of the White House to cheer) political ramifications of bin Laden's death will materialize in the coming days.

The biggest split in the potential GOP candidates' reactions was whether they offered praise directly at Obama.

Huckabee made mention of Obama, but didn't single the president out for congratulations. Neither did former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).

"Americans have waited nearly ten years for the news of Osama bin Laden's death," he said in his statement. "And while this is a very significant objective that cannot be minimized, the threat from Jihadism does not die with bin Laden."

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), in a reaction on Twitter, also made no mention of Obama.

"Thank you, American men and women in uniform. You are America's finest and we are all so proud. Thank you for fighting against terrorism," she wrote.

Last updated Monday, May 2, at 9:53 a.m.

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