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Obama Speech On Afghanistan Prompts Reaction From GOP Presidential Candidates (PHOTOS)

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President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday evening that the United States would begin the process of bringing home thousands of troops stationed in Afghanistan with the goal of pulling out 33,000 forces by the end of summer next year.

"Of course, huge challenges remain," Obama said in a prime-time televised address. "This is the beginning — but not the end — of our effort to wind down this war. We will have to do the hard work of keeping the gains that we have made while we draw down our forces and transition responsibility for security to the Afghan government."

The Associated Press notes that even with the drawdown, roughly 70,000 U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan under the plan outlined by the president.

The 30,000-plus U.S. troops expected to return by summer of next year would come home just months prior to the 2012 presidential election.

Following the president's remarks on Wednesday night, three top tier GOP contenders -- former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman -- issued statements on the address. Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, a lesser known Republican hopeful, also responded.

Below, a slideshow highlighting reaction from the Republican presidential candidates. (Note: We will update this post with additional reaction as it is released.)

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