The Republican presidential candidates, save former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), announced during Saturday night's GOP debate that they would reinstitute waterboarding if elected president, arguing that it is an "enhanced interrogation technique" and therefore doesn't violate the Geneva Convention's ban against acts of torture.
On Sunday evening, President Barack Obama chastised the candidates for that stance, noting the damage waterboarding has done for America's reputation and its standing in the world.
"It's contrary to America's traditions," he said. "It's contrary to our ideals. That's not who we are. That's not how we operate. We don't need it in order to prosecute the war on terrorism. And we did the right thing by ending that practice."
The Republican senator who is best known for criticizing the practice, and the man who challenged Obama in 2008, expressed his disappointment Monday morning as well.
"Very disappointed by statements at SC GOP debate supporting waterboarding," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) tweeted. "Waterboarding is torture."
McCain was vocal in his opposition to waterboarding even during the Bush years. But his tweet Monday is a reminder that the 2012 election will likely raise a new policy dispute that Obama must address: the question of whether or not Bush-era interrogation policies -- policies that were ended by President Bush himself -- should be re-instituted.
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