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WASHINGTON (AP/THE BLAZE) -- President Barack Obama says Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi must leave the country now.

Obama made the comments to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a private telephone conversation Saturday as they discussed the violence in Libya. The White House says 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 Obama has called on Gadhafi to step down.

Gadhafi has launched a violent crackdown against protesters demanding his ouster. He has vowed a bloody fight to the end.

Meanwhile, the battle for Tripoli continues:

One last thing…
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