Candidates' Initial Statements in Response to the Capture of Saddam Hussein
December 14, 2003

Clark
"I could not be prouder of the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces for capturing this horrible despot.  This is a testament to their courage and determination.  I'd also like to congratulate Lt. General Sanchez and the intelligence community for the crucial role they played.  We've been due good news from Iraq and the world is a safer and better place now that he is in custody."
 

Dean
"This is a great day for the Iraqi people, the US, and the international community.

"Our troops are to be congratulated on carrying out this mission with the skill and dedication we have come to know of them.

"This development provides an enormous opportunity to set a new course and take the American label off the war.  We must do everything possible to bring the UN, NATO, and other members of the international community back into this effort.

"Now that the dictator is captured, we must also accelerate the transition from occupation to full Iraqi sovereignty."
 

Edwards
"Today, every American and people all over the world are waking up to the good news that Saddam Hussein is no longer free.  But no citizens are happier to learn of his capture than the Iraqi people who endured his torture and oppression for decades.  They have been waiting to hear of his demise and we are all grateful that they finally received this welcomed news.

"Since last March our men and women in uniform have been working with courage and commitment to help the Iraqi people create the country of their dreams: one that is free, democratic, and free from Saddam Hussein's terrible reign.  We are all so proud of their efforts not just today, but every day as they work tirelessly to bring democracy to Iraq.

"Our military leaders have accomplished a great success.  I hope President Bush will use this opportunity to chart a course in Iraq that will bring in our allies in a meaningful way to achieve a democratic and peaceful Iraq."
 

Gephardt
"Today is a great day for our troops, the Coalition forces and the people of Iraq.

"I supported this effort in Iraq without regard for the political consequences because it was the right thing to do. I still feel that way now and today is a major step toward stabilizing Iraq and building a new democracy.

"For many years, we will be confronted with a war on terrorism that is unfinished. This will be a long and difficult struggle and we need a president who has the credibility to unite the American people and our allies in an effort to make our nation and our world safe."
 

Kerry
"This is a great day for U.S. forces, the Iraqi people, and the world. Capturing Saddam Hussein and ensuring that this brutal dictator will never return to power is an important step towards stabilizing Iraq for the Iraqis.

Let's also be clear: Our problems in Iraq have not been caused by one man and this is a moment when the administration can and must launch a major effort to gain international support and win the peace. We need to share the burden, bring in other countries, and make it clear to the world that Iraq belongs to the Iraqi people.

Today is another opportunity to invite the world into a post-Saddam Iraq and build the coalition to win the peace that we should have built to win the war."
 

Kucinich
"With the capture of Saddam Hussein the Administration's stated goal of removing him from power has been accomplished. Now the focus must be on ending the occupation.  International law must be followed and Saddam Hussein must be held accountable for his actions.

 "The United States must seize this moment and end the occupation of Iraq.  The United States must reach out to the world community with a new plan to stabilize Iraq, bring UN peacekeepers in, and bring US troops home."
 

Lieberman
"Hallelujah, praise the Lord.  This is something that I have been advocating and praying for for more than twelve years, since the Gulf War of 1991.  Saddam Hussein was a homicidal maniac, a brutal dictator, who wanted to dominate the Arab world and was supporting terrorists.

He caused the death of more than a million people, including 460 Americans who went to overthrow him.  This is a day of glory for the American military, a day of rejoicing for the Iraqi people, and a day of triumph and joy for anyone in the world who cares about freedom, human rights, and peace.

 This evil man has to face the death penalty.  The international tribunal in The Hague cannot order the death penalty, so my first question about where he's going to be tried will be answered by whether that tribunal can execute him.  If it cannot be done by theIraqi military tribunal, he should be brought before an American military tribunal and face death.

We've got some challenges ahead of us.  This is not over.  We've got to seize this moment, bring in the international community to help us rebuild Iraq, ask NATO to join us in the peacekeeping, complete our victory over the insurgents and terrorists that are fighting us, and let the Iraqis govern themselves.

This news also makes clear the choice the Democrats face next year.  If Howard Dean had his way, Saddam Hussein would still be in power today, not in prison, and the world would be a more dangerous place.

If we Democrats want to win back the White House and take this country forward, we have to show the American people that we're prepared to keep them safe.  I consistently supported Saddam's removal for the past decade, and am prepared to do what it takes to win the war on terrorism at home and abroad."
 

Moseley Braun
The capture of Saddam Hussein is good news for the people of Iraq and the world.  But it does not change the fact that our troops remain in harm's way; and we are no closer to bringing them home.