By Matt Spetalnick and Laura MacInnis
WASHINGTON | Thu Oct 20, 2011
(Reuters) - President Barack Obama hailed Muammar Gaddafi's death on Thursday as a warning to authoritarian leaders across the Middle East that iron-fisted rule "inevitably comes to an end," and as vindication for his cautious strategy toward Libya.
Obama joined U.S. politicians and ordinary Americans in welcoming the demise of Gaddafi, who was for decades regarded as a nemesis of American presidents, and also claimed some of the credit for the Libyan strongman's downfall.
But he also appeared to distance Washington from deeper entanglement in the North African oil-producing nation at a time of economic woes at home, placing responsibility for Libya's future squarely on the shoulders of the fractious interim leadership in Tripoli.