As the world listened, U.S. President Barack Obama made a strong statement on Libya and the military intervention. The President defended U.S. involvement as a responsibility after launching a scathing attack on the Libyan dictator Colonel Moammar Gadhafi.
For more than four decades, the Libyan people have been ruled by a tyrant - Moammar Gaddafi. He has denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world - including Americans who were killed by Libyan agents, he said.
We knew that if we waited one more day, Benghazi - a city nearly the size of Charlotte - could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world. It was not in our national interest to let that happen. I refused to let that happen, he asserted, backing an earlier contention, Mindful of the risks and costs of military action, we are naturally reluctant to use force to solve the world's many challenges.
To summarize, the intention of the military involvement in Libya, Obama narrated, then: in just one month, the United States has worked with our international partners to mobilize a broad coalition, secure an international mandate to protect civilians, stop an advancing army, prevent a massacre, and establish a No Fly Zone with our allies and partners. To lend some perspective on how rapidly this military and diplomatic response came together, when people were being brutalized in Bosnia in the 1990s, it took the international community more than a year to intervene with air power to protect civilians.
With the speech so impactful, the media launched efforts to decipher the sub text of the address while it sparked off a wave of rhetoric from the 2012 Presidential-hopefuls.
Start the slideshow to see the quotes from Barack Obama's speech followed by responses of 2012 Presidential contenders: