In marked turn from Egypt diplomacy, calls for immediate departure of Libya's embattled ruler, once a U.S. ally
- The U.S. is paying close attention to Qaddafi's assests, but mystery surrounds exactly how much he is worth. CBS News Chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian reports.
- Video Obama: Qaddafi must leave now President Obama addressed the crisis in Libya saying that Moammar Qadaffi must leave now. Joel Brown reports from the White House.
- A picture of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi is burned during a demonstration in front of the Libyan embassy in Paris, Feb. 25, 2011. (Msrtin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images)
- WASHINGTON - For the Obama administration, it is finally now official: Muammar Qaddafi's time has come.
In a private phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Barack Obama said the embattled Libyan leader must leave the country now because he has lost the legitimacy of his rule.
Mr. Obama made the comments to Merkel Saturday as they discussed the violence in Libya. The White House says President Obama told Merkel that when a leader's only means of holding power is to use violence against his people, then he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what's right for his country by "leaving now."
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The comments mark the first time that President Obama has called on Qaddafi to step down.
President Obama signed an executive order Friday that froze assets held by Qaddafi and four of his children in the United States. On Saturday, U.S. government revoked visas for senior Libyan officials and their family members.
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Qaddafi has launched a violent crackdown against protesters demanding his ouster. He has vowed a bloody fight to the end.
The public call for Qaddafi's ouster is a noticeably different diplomatic tact than the one the Obama administration took in neighboring Egypt last month when former President Hosni Mubarak's supporters were using violent tactics to suppress anti-government demonstrations.
In Egypt, Obama administration officials were careful to never call for the departure of Mubarak, who was once America's closest Mideast ally. Instead, they called for peaceful reforms, but did not specify what that meant.
During the Bush administration, Qaddafi too had become a U.S. ally after giving up his nuclear program and denouncing terrorism