Obama: Pan Am Bomber's Welcome "Highly Objectionable"
Updated 2:05 p.m. ET
(AP Photo/ Amr Nabil)
President Obama said the hero's welcome given to convicted Lockerbie bomber in Libya was "highly objectionable."
Mr. Obama made the comment on Friday afternoon, following a statement on the White House lawn about Thursday's elections in Afghanistan, when prompted by CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante.
Earlier, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs called the images "outrageous and disgusting."
"I think the images that we saw in Libya yesterday were outrageous and disgusting. We continue to express our condolences to the families that lost a loved one as a result of this terrorist murder," Gibbs said his daily briefing.
Gibbs' remarks come in the face of continued outrage from the families of victims of Pam Am 103 to Abdel Baset al-Megrahi's release from a Scotish prison on Thursday. Al-Megrahi, who is suffering from terminal prostate cancer, was released on what they called humanitarian grounds -- despite only serving eight years of a life sentence.
Susan Cohen, whose daughter Theodora, then 20, died on the 1988 flight, expressed her anger at President Obama over the release on CBS' "The Early Show" on Friday. (video at left)
Cohen called Mr. Obama's reaction "soft," adding that she has pushed the president to do more.
There is "no one even in prison for the crime," she said.
On Thursday, Mr. Obama called the release a "mistake," and called for the Libyan government to hold al-Megrahi under house arrest. He said his administration had conveyed objections to the Scottish government before al-Megrahi's release.
"We're now in contact with the Libyan government and want to make sure that if in fact this transfer has taken place that he's not welcomed back in some way but instead should be under house arrest," Mr. Obama told radio talk show host Michael Smerconish.
In the past few years, Libya has improved its relations with the U.S. and the West. The U.S. and Libya exchanged ambassadors for the first time since 1973 this year, and Mr. Obama became the first president to exchange a face-to-face greeting with Libyan leader Moammar Qadhafi, during the G-8 Summit last month in Italy (picture at left).
Gibbs said in the briefing Friday that the White House will be watching Libya's response to their requests.
"We communicated with the Libyan government, and we continue to watch what they do in the days going forward about this individual and -- and understand that the video that you saw yesterday is tremendously offensive to the survivors," he said.
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