In celebration of the first anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, the re-election campaign of President Barack Obama has launched this 90-second video in which former President Bill Clinton – now a full partner in the Obama re-elect – explains the gamble taken by the man who beat Hillary Clinton in ’08.
But what had everyone talking over the weekend is the suggestion — raised not by Bill Clinton personally, but in within the ad – that GOP rival Mitt Romney might not have been up to such a decision.
I’m trying to remember the last time a Democrat went after a Republican this hard, this early and this forcefully on national security. Jack Kennedy on Richard Nixon?
Here’s the ad:
From Bill Clinton:
”That’s one thing George Bush said that’s right. The president is the decider-in-chief. Nobody can make that decision for you. Look, he knew what would happen. Suppose the Navy Seals had gone in there and it hadn’t been Bin Laden? Suppose they had been captured or killed?
“The downside would have been horrible for him. But he reasoned; ‘I cannot in good conscience do nothing.’ He took the harder and the more honorable path. And the one that produced, in my opinion, the best result.”
Then comes the attack on Mitt Romney:
”Which path would Romney have taken? Mitt Romney criticized Barack Obama for vowing to strike al-Qaeda targets inside Pakistan if necessary.”
Bill Clinton continues:
“He had to decide. And that’s what you hire a president to do. You hire the president to make the calls when no one else can do it.”
Here’s the immediate reaction from the Romney campaign, via the Associated Press:
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney says “of course” he would have ordered Osama bin Laden killed.
President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has raised questions about Romney’s willingness to assassinate the former terrorist leader and mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington. Obama authorized the U.S. military raid in Pakistan that ended with bin Laden’s death one year ago this week.
Speaking to reporters in New Hampshire on Monday, Romney said he would have made the same decision.
“Of course. Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order,” Romney said, answering a reporter’s question.
Romney has scheduled an appearance Tuesday in New York City with firefighters and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani to mark the anniversary of bin Laden’s death.
On Sunday, Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs said it was unclear whether Romney would have made the same decision as Obama.
“Look, just a few years ago, President Obama — then a candidate — said in a speech that if we had actionable intelligence of a high-value target in Pakistan, we’d go in and get that high value target,” Gibbs said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” ”Mitt Romney said that was foolish. He wouldn’t do such a thing. That he wouldn’t move heaven and earth to get Osama bin Laden.”
Former New Hampshire Gov. John H. Sununu, a key Romney supporter who was chief of staff in President George H. W. Bush’s White House, said Obama is wrong to take credit for bin Laden’s killing. Sununu said the decision was ultimately made by a Navy admiral.
“It’s wrong in taking credit and it’s wrong in implying that someone else would not have made the same decision,” Sununu said before Romney addressed a crowd on Portsmouth Fish Pier. “There is no way that anyone sitting in that White House would not have at least done what he did.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider