Romney Says “Even Jimmy Carter” Would Have Ordered Bin Laden Operation: Obama Responds

This has been quite a week for the Romney campaign and while it will bring cheers from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh fans, how will it play with independent voters? Probably not well: (1) A Romney aide (despite Romney’s Nov. 2008 New York Times op ed titled Let Detroit Go Bankrupt) insisted that Romney really gave Barack Obama the idea for saving the auto industry (2)GOPers were seemingly pressing the line that Obama was actually too cool to be President (3) Republicans were insisting more than ever that Obama deserved much credit for ordering the attack on Osama bin Laden that led to the terrorist chief’s being killed a year go and was playing politics with it (forgetting this moment and other Bush administration instances of playing politics with the terrorism and 911 issue.)

And today it moved into high gear with Romney making another unscripted comment that in the end seemed to leave him looking defensive and in change-a-position Etch a Sketch mode:

President Barack Obama on Monday appeared to call out Mitt Romney over what he said about going after Osama bin Laden on the campaign trail four years ago, as opposed to on the eve of the first anniversary of the raid that killed the terrorist leader.

Asked about Romney’s comments earlier in the day that the decision to go after bin Laden was a clear one and that “even Jimmy Carter would” have made the call, Obama referred to a difference between what Romney said during his 2008 presidential campaign and on the eve of the first anniversary of the attack.

“I assume that people meant what they said when they said it,” Obama said during a joint appearance with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. “That’s been at least my practice. I said that I’d go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him, and I did. If there are others who said one thing and now suggest they’d do something else, I’d go ahead and let them explain.”

Obama also appeared to take exception with a reporter’s question that suggested there was excessive celebration around the anniversary of the al Qaeda leader’s death, repeating a charge that Republicans have made.

I hardly think that you’ve seen any excessive celebration taking place,” Obama said. “I think that the American people likely remember what we as a country accomplished in bringing to justice somebody who killed over 3,000 of our citizens.”

Here’s Romney’s comment:


And here is Obama’s reaction:
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Will the Romney/GOP line play with independent voters? I suspect not.

Obama & Co’s touting his decision in campaign ads comes across as politics – the same kind of politicization that the GOP did over 911 and terrorism when George W. Bush was in office.

The GOP’s attack line is coming across as — sour grapes.

It’s worth noting that Team Obama has come under fire from at least one ally for its ad touting bin Laden’s assassination: Huffington Post megachief Arianna Huffington labeled the ad “despicable.”

If you balance these two reactions the net result is: more emphasis in the public consciousness due to its prominence in the news cycle that Barack Obama issued the order to get Osama bin Laden while Romney’s earlier position indicated that if faced with the same basic set of circumstances Romney would likely have balked.

Writes blogger Charles Johnson:

Classy! So the Republican position on the operation that took out Osama bin Laden is that it was no big deal? Good luck with that one.

TPM has this must read on The Five Stages of GOP Reaction to bin Laden’s Death and What Comes Next

You can follow blog reaction to this campaign exchange and story HERE.

The copyrighted cartoon by Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune, is licensed to run on TMV. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.