COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann said Thursday that President Barack Obama has moved too late and with too little force in response to Syria's crackdown on dissent.
In coordinated statements Thursday, Obama and the leaders of Britain, France and Germany and the European Union said Syrian President Bashar Assad should resign and that his suppression of his people had made him unfit to lead. Obama is also giving his administration authority to impose new sanctions against Syria.
"This is yet one more instance of President Obama leading from behind on foreign policy," Bachmann told reporters after a rally a few blocks from the South Carolina's Statehouse.
Bachmann has been emphasizing her foreign policy credentials as a member of the House Intelligence Committee and has been sharply critical of Obama's handling of Libya and Israel.
"The president should have acted weeks ago to call on President Assad to step down when his regime started slaughtering and oppressing his own Syrian people — by this count now it's thousands of Syrians," she said.
On top of the sanctions Obama called for Thursday, Bachmann said he should expel the Syrian ambassador in the U.S. "And the president should immediately withdraw the United States ambassador to Syria," she said.
"Better late than never is no way to conduct United States foreign policy," she said.
The congresswoman from Minnesota also said that Syria is "seeking to become a nuclear-armed nation. And clearly it is unacceptable for Syria to become a nuclear-armed nation."
Bachmann's remarks to reporters came in the middle of a three-day campaign swing in South Carolina after her narrow win Saturday in the Iowa straw poll, an early test of popularity and campaign organization.
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