Libyan Fog Of War Gives Obama, Rivals Reasons To Tread Carefully

Moammar Gadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam (top left), at a hotel in Tripoli early Tuesday morning despite rebel claims he was captured. i i

hide captionMoammar Gadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam (top left), at a hotel in Tripoli early Tuesday morning despite rebel claims he was captured.

Imed Lamloum/AP
Moammar Gadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam (top left), at a hotel in Tripoli early Tuesday morning despite rebel claims he was captured.

Moammar Gadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam (top left), at a hotel in Tripoli early Tuesday morning despite rebel claims he was captured.

Imed Lamloum/AP

Turns out it was probably a good idea for President Obama to be relatively low key in discussing the situation in Libya Monday since some of the reports from the Transitional National Council turned out to be greatly exaggerated, to say the least.

Like Seif el-Islam Gadhafi, the eldest son of and heir apparent to the ever weaker strongman Moammar Gadhafi, not being in rebel custody, after all, but turning up early Tuesday Tripoli time to give journalists a tour of parts of the Libyan capital still under government control.

The fast-moving and clearly chaotic events in Libya underscore the limits of their usefulness as a campaign issue. Which is likely why there hasn't been much from the Republican candidates on Libya, as some journalists have noted.

Mitt Romney, a frontrunner for the Republican nomination, made perhaps the strongest statement Monday when he urged that Libya's new government send the Lockerbie bomber to the U.S. for trial.

But with the TNC still unable to even set up shop officially in Tripoli, it doesn't seem likely that an extradition of Adbelbaset al-Megrahi will occur anytime soon.

This is one of those cases where it would be hard to fault U.S. politicians for wanting to wait until the literal smoke in Tripoli clears.

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