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Potential 2012 candidates react

As we wrote earlier tonight, the news of Osama Bin Laden's death -- and its implications for President Barack Obama's legacy and his re-election race -- is almost certain to change the contours of the 2012 race.

Here's some responses from potential 2012 GOP contenders to the news that the al-Qaeda leader has been killed in a U.S.-led operation in Pakistan.

Facebook post from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney: "This is a great victory for lovers of freedom and justice everywhere. Congratulations to our intelligence community, our military and the president. My thoughts are with the families of Osama bin Laden's many thousands of victims, and the brave servicemen and women who have laid down their lives in pursuit of this murderous terrorist."

Written statement from former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty: "This is terrific news for freedom and justice. In the hours after the 9/11 attacks, President Bush promised that America would bring Osama bin Laden to justice — and we did. I want to congratulate America's armed forces and President Obama for a job well done. Let history show that the perseverance of the US military and the American people never wavered. America will never shrink from the fight and ultimately those who seek to harm us face only defeat. Today, justice is done, but the fight against radical Islamic terrorism is not yet over."

Tweet from former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin: "Thank you, American men and women in uniform. You are America's finest and we are all so proud. Thank you for fighting against terrorism.

Written statement from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: "It is unusual to celebrate a death, but today Americans and decent people the world over cheer the news that madman, murderer and terrorist Osama Bin Laden is dead. The leader of Al Qaeda--- responsible for the deaths of 3000 innocent citizens on September 11, 2001, and whose maniacal hate is responsible for the deaths of thousands of US servicemen and women was killed by U.S. military. President Obama confirmed the announcement late last night. DNA tests confirmed his death and his body is in the possession of the U. S.  It has taken a long time for this monster to be brought to justice. Welcome to hell, bin Laden. Let us all hope that his demise will serve notice to Islamic radicals the world over that the United States will be relentless is tracking down and terminating those who would inflict terror, mayhem and death on any of our citizens."

Written statement from Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann: "I want to express my deepest gratitude to the men and women of the U.S. military and intelligence community. Their persistence and dedicated service has yielded success in a mission that has gripped our nation since the terrible events of 9/11. Tonight’s news does not bring back the lives of the thousands of innocent people who were killed that day by Osama bin Laden’s horrific plan, and it does not end the threat posed by terrorists, but it is my hope that this is the beginning of the end of Sharia-compliant terrorism.”

Written statement from former Sen. Rick Santorum: "This is extraordinary news for all freedom loving people of the world, and I commend all those involved for this historic triumph.  Americans have waited nearly ten years for the news of Osama bin Laden's death.  And while this is a very significant objective that cannot be minimized, the threat from Jihadism does not die with bin Laden. As we were vigilant in taking him out we need to demonstrate we will continue to be vigilant until the enemy has been subdued."