The killing of Osama bin Laden is sure to have some impact on President Barack Obama’s poll numbers and – by extension – his chances for re-election.
No doubt the first survey will come by day’s end.
But another measure of the political import of bin Laden’s death can be found in the fact that, in their former celebratory statements, Republicans by and large declined to offer the Obama administration credit for the trackdown. At least not by name.
There were a few exceptions. President George W. Bush was generous. U.S. House Speaker John Boehner leavened his praise for Obama by issuing similar congratulations to Bush.
But most prominent Republicans said nothing that might be used by a White House resident who just announced his re-election bid.
From U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta:
“It is testament to the unwavering courage and tireless efforts of our men and women in uniform and the intelligence community that the last 9 years, 7 months, and 20 days have undoubtedly been difficult for bin Laden and his terrorist thugs. While this is a monumental development, we must remember that al Qaeda remains committed to our demise, as do we remain committed to ensuring that terrorists cannot threaten the livelihood of free people.”
From U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Roswell:
” Evil has met justice. The brave men and women of our military forces and intelligence services are to be commended for their defense of our liberty and freedom. May God Bless America.”
From U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee:
“This is a historic moment for the U.S. special operations and intelligence communities. I highly commend the special operations units who undertook this mission and carried it out with no injuries to women or children inside the compound. The CIA and others in the U.S. intelligence community did a phenomenal job over several months in carrying out this assignment.”
(In a conversation with AJC blogger Jamie Dupree in Washington, Chambliss later credited Obama with making a “gutsy call.”)
From U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson:
“This day comes as a result of the hard work by the Central Intelligence Agency, the national security agencies and especially our military. We have hunted down and killed the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, but we must not stop here.”
And just a few minutes ago from GOP presidential presumptive Mitt Romney:
This is a great victory for lovers of freedom and justice everywhere. Congratulations to our intelligence community, our military and the president. My thoughts are with the families of Osama bin Laden’s many thousands of victims, and the brave servicemen and women who have laid down their lives in pursuit of this murderous terrorist.
A quick sweep turns up only Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey among Republicans willing break the rules:
“I want to commend President Obama’s Administration for its commitment and dedication to finally bringing Osama bin Laden to justice. As the former U.S. Attorney and now Governor of New Jersey, I speak for all the families of this state who have courageously endured the unspeakable and devastating consequences of terrorism.
“There is hardly a life that has gone untouched in New Jersey by the horrifying assault on American soil that took place on September 11th and today, after years of waiting, justice has finally been delivered.
Added at 9:55 a.m.: Politico.com has this from Rudy Giuliani, the former GOP presidential candidate who was mayor of New York on 9/11:
“I feel a great deal of satisfaction that justice has been done, and I admire the courage of the president to make a decision like this because if something had gone wrong everyone would be blaming him,” Giuliani [said]Monday morning in his first comments since the capture. “And I admire the courage and professionalism of our military intelligence officials who carried this out and this is a great victory against terror. nobody can minimize it. [Bin Laden] was a symbol more than anything else right now but…symbols are really important.”
Among Democrats, of course, the story is different. From U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop of Albany:
”I congratulate President Obama, our military and the intelligence community for conducting a successful mission to kill Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. While this is a great moment in the war on terror, the threat from those who wish to harm our country will continue, and we must remain vigilant.”
And then there is U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta, who has dedicated his life to non-violence. He tried hard not to celebrate:
“I am not one to rejoice in the death of any person, but Osama bin Laden took the lives of thousands of innocent people in this country and around the world…
“His terrorism changed not only individual lives, but it promoted an environment of fear and the need for ever-ready security to assure the defense of this nation and others around the world….”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider