Reporter's Notebook: How the administration reacted to the crisis in Libya
President Obama greets onlookers outside an Oak Bluffs restaurant on Martha's Vineyard Sunday night.
August 22nd, 2011
06:01 PM ET

Reporter's Notebook: How the administration reacted to the crisis in Libya

(CNN) Martha's Vineyard, MA–Strong words today from President Obama as the situation in Libya deteriorated. "It's clear that Gadhafi's rule is over," the president announced once again calling on the Libyan strongman to step down. But the president cautioned that the situation in Libya remains fluid and his administration continues to monitor "fierce fighting" in some areas.

This on-camera statement from Mr. Obama at his vacation home on Martha's Vineyard ended two days of high-level talks, as well as late night and early morning conference calls with the president’s national security team – all amidst a family vacation.

On Sunday, the CNN team that was part of the White House travel pool gathered in the early morning to follow the president's movements. As the situation in Libya intensified, reporters clamored to find out if the president would speak on camera. The White House’s official response was, "not at this point."

The day progressed and the travel pool followed the president's movements from a morning at the beach to an afternoon of golf and a reception at the oceanfront home of a powerful media executive. And still no statement from the White House on Libya.

As evening approached, the White House alerted the travel pool that the president would be making an "off the record" movement where the press would be able to shoot video. It was finally a chance to see if the president would speak in front of the cameras. FULL POST

Obama makes statement on Libya from Martha's Vineyard
August 22nd, 2011
04:27 PM ET

Obama makes statement on Libya from Martha's Vineyard

While on vacation on Martha's Vineyard, the president made a brief statement this afternoon on the developing situation in Libya. Speaking to the small group of traveling press with him on the island, the president began by stating that he's been kept abreast of the situation despite being away from Washington:

I just completed a call with my National Security Council on the situation in Libya. And earlier today I spoke to Prime Minister Cameron about the extraordinary events taking place there. The situation is still very fluid. There remains a degree of uncertainty and there are still regime elements who pose a threat. But this much is clear: The Qaddafi regime is coming to an end, and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people.

The president summarized U.S. military involvement in Libya, beginning with the "peaceful protests" earlier this year and culminating with international recognition of the Transitional National Council as the "legitimate governing authority in Libya." And then he outlined the current situation:

Over the last several days, the situation in Libya has reached a tipping point as the opposition increased its coordination from east to west, took town after town, and the people of Tripoli rose up to claim their freedom.

For over four decades, the Libyan people have lived under the rule of a tyrant who denied them their most basic human rights. Now, the celebrations that we’ve seen in the streets of Libya shows that the pursuit of human dignity is far stronger than any dictator. I want to emphasize that this is not over yet. As the regime collapses, there is still fierce fighting in some areas, and we have reports of regime elements threatening to continue fighting. FULL POST


Topics: Libya • President Obama