The White House is standing by reports that surfaced Thursday confirming that former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is dead. President Obama spoke to reporters in the Rose Garden today, saying that one of the world’s long-standing dictators is no more. He called this a “momentous day in the history of Libya.”
The president talked about the United States’ role in assisting the NATO effort to protect the people of Libya from Gadhafi forces and the threat of massacre. Obama said, “We look forward to the announcement of the country’s liberation and a stable transition to Libya’s free elections."
But, he warned, “Libya will travel a long and winding road. There will be difficult days ahead, but the U.S. is committed to the Libyan people.”
Obama sent a message to other embattled regimes when he said that leaders who rule with an iron fist will come to an end and that "leaders who try to deny human dignity will not succeed."
He then talked about the many servicemen who sacrificed as part of a coalition that succeeded “without putting a single service member on the ground.”
The president did not take questions from reporters, but White House Spokesman Jay Carney did. He echoed the purpose of the mission, calling it “a move to allow the Libyans to take control and decide how and by whom they'll be led."
As for the future, Carney says the Libyan people have shown that they are taking control of their country but, “There are no guarantees of what the future will look like.”
The president just wrapped a three-day jobs bill tour, giving reporters a chance to ask about the trip’s effectiveness and whether he’d consider Republican alternatives to his jobs plan. Carney said, “Republicans have put forward what they call 'jobs proposals.' They have some ideas that honestly have merit, and we’ve acted on them and there will be other measures we’ll cooperate with. They don’t have proposals that will help the economy and grow it now.”
Carney also said he believes the trip was “highly valuable” as a way to get the president to go out and speak to ordinary Americans and hear what they are dealing with.
The White House also welcomed the 13 recipients of the 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation’s second-highest civilian honor. Among the honorees: Ida Martin of Bluffton, SC. She created an organization called Bluffton Self Help, which assists working families, disabled residents and senior citizens with food, shelter and short-term aide for people who are facing financial crises.
(Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)