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Republican presidential hopefuls slam Clinton, Obama for North Korea nukes

By Amy R. Connolly   |   Jan. 6, 2016 at 11:43 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Republican presidential hopefuls blasted President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic presidential candidate, after North Korea announced it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina are among the Republicans who blamed the "failed Obama-Clinton foreign policy" for inaction that may have ushered in North Korea's expanded use of nuclear weaponry. Some of the candidates took to the Wednesday morning talk-show circuit to further drive their points.

"Three out of the four nuclear detonations that the North Koreans have done have happened under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton's watch," {link:Christie told Fox News' Fox and Friends. "They have just not acted strongly at all around the world. This is just another example -- piled on top of Iran, on top of Syria, on top of Crimea and Ukraine. This is what weak American leadership gets you."

Rubio was among the first to come out with an I-told-you-so statement late Tuesday after North Korea claimed to have tested the bomb.

"I have been warning throughout this campaign that North Korea is run by a lunatic who has been expanding his nuclear arsenal while President Obama has stood idly by," Rubio said. "Our enemies around the world are taking advantage of Obama's weakness. We need new leadership that will stand up to people like [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Un and ensure our country has the capabilities necessary to keep America safe."

Fiorina echoed the sentiments, blaming Clinton's inactivity while working as Obama's secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

"Of course North Korea would conduct a nuclear test after watching Iran willfully violate an agreement they just made without consequence of any kind from this administration. North Korea is yet another Hillary Clinton foreign policy failure. America cannot lead from behind," she said on Facebook.

Republican front-runner Donald Trump veered away from the Clinton-Obama criticism, saying China should focus on dismantling North Korea.

"China has total control, believe me, they say they don't, they have total control over North Korea, and China should solve that problem, and if they don't solve the problem, we should make trade very difficult with China," Trump told Fox and Friends.

Clinton has not responded to criticism she is to blame for three of North Korea's four nuclear tests -- in 2009, 2013 and now. Fellow Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders backed away from attacking Clinton, instead advocating for China to put pressure on North Korea.

"We'll have to lean on China," Sanders said of the U.S. strategy on Good Morning America. "China is North Korea's closest ally. They'll have to push North Korea to start adhering to international agreements. ... When you have a hydrogen bomb, if that's true, you are a threat to China, as well."

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