Obama Says GOP Candidates Are Wrong, Waterboarding is ‘Torture’

ABC News’ Mary Bruce and Jon Garcia Report:

President Obama said today that Republican presidential candidates are “wrong” to defend the practice of waterboarding, which he said is torture.

“Waterboarding is torture. It’s contrary to America’s traditions, it’s contrary to our ideals, it’s not who we are, it’s not how we operate,” Obama told reporters at a press conference of the interrogation technique.

Republican Presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain said in a debate Saturday night that they would support the renewed use of waterboarding.

“They’re wrong,” Obama said today. “We did the right thing by ending that practice.”

The enhanced interrogation technique simulates the sensation of drowning and was used by U.S. personnel in an effort to force cooperation of detainees.

“We don’t need it in order to prosecute the war on terrorism,” Obama explained. “If we want to lead around the world part of our leadership is setting a good example. And anybody who has actually read about and understands the practice of waterboarding would say that that is torture and that’s not something we do. Period.”

Although he was willing to respond to Bachmann and Cain, Obama declined to comment on front-runner Mitt Romney’s attack on the president’s foreign policy in Iran.

“I am going to make a practice of not commenting on whatever is said in Republican debates until they’ve got an actual nominee,” he said.