December 27, 2007 / 7:09 PM / 12 years ago

FACTBOX-US presidential hopefuls on Bhutto murder

(Adds Biden and Edwards)

Dec 27 (Reuters) - Democratic and Republican candidates for the U.S. presidency in 2008 condemned the assassination on Thursday of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Following are some of their comments on the events in Pakistan. DEMOCRATS: DELAWARE SEN. JOE BIDEN:

"I am convinced Ms. Bhutto would have won free and fair elections next week. The fact that she was by far Pakistan’s most popular leader underscores the fact that there is a vast, moderate majority in Pakistan that must have a clear voice in the system. Her assassination makes it all the more urgent that Pakistan return to a democratic path." NEW YORK SEN. HILLARY CLINTON:

"Her death is a tragedy for her country and a terrible reminder of the work that remains to bring peace, stability, and hope to regions of the globe too often paralyzed by fear, hatred, and violence." CONNECTICUT SEN. CHRIS DODD:

"As we recognize the loss of a leader today, we must also recognize the implication of today’s tragedy to the security of the region and to that of the United States. At this critical time we must do everything in our power to help Pakistan continue the path toward democracy and full elections. Our first priority must be to ensure stability in this critical nuclear state." FORMER NORTH CAROLINA SEN. JOHN EDWARDS:

"At this critical moment, America must convey both strength and principle. We should do everything in our power to help bring the perpetrators of this heinous act to justice and to ensure that Bhutto’s movement toward democracy continues." ILLINOIS SEN. BARACK OBAMA:

"I am shocked and saddened by the death of Benazir Bhutto in this terrorist atrocity. ... We join with them (the Pakistani people) in mourning her loss, and stand with them in their quest for democracy and against the terrorists who threaten the common security of the world." NEW MEXICO GOV. BILL RICHARDSON:

"The United States government cannot stand by and allow Pakistan’s return to democracy to be derailed or delayed by violence. ... President George W. Bush should press Musharraf to step aside, and a broad-based coalition government, consisting of all the democratic parties, should be formed immediately. Until this happens, we should suspend military aid to the Pakistani government." REPUBLICANS: FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI:

"The assassination of Benazir Bhutto is a tragic event for Pakistan and for democracy in Pakistan. Her murderers must be brought to justice and Pakistan must continue the path back to democracy and the rule of law." FORMER ARKANSAS GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE:

"This is devastating news for the people of Pakistan, and my prayers go out to them as we follow developments regarding this dire situation." ARIZONA SEN. JOHN MCCAIN:

"The death of Benazir Bhutto underscores yet again the grave dangers we face in the world today and particularly in countries like Pakistan, where the forces of moderation are arrayed in a fierce battle against those who embrace violent Islamic extremism." FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOV. MITT ROMNEY:

"This points out again the extraordinary reality of global violent radical Jihadism ... This type of loss of life points out again the need for our nation and other civilized nations of the West and of the Muslim world to come together to support moderate Islamic leaders, moderate Islamic people to help them in their effort to reject the violence and the extreme." (Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky, editing by Jackie Frank)

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