Almost four years ago to the day, then-and-now Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said "It's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person." And months before, according to an Aug. 4 2007 Reuters article, "Mitt Romney criticized Barack Obama for vowing to strike al-Qaeda targets inside Pakistan if necessary."
Obama went on to win the presidency. He made good on his pledge. Osama Bin Laden was killed. Now Obama's campaign is trying to make this soft-on-Bin Laden charge stick to Romney. Will voters buy it?
*Update: Romney camp responds and some Republicans** note that the president might be making the very type of political hay he wants decried: “The killing of Osama bin Laden was a momentous day for all Americans and the world, and Governor Romney congratulated the military, our intelligence agencies, and the President. It's now sad to see the Obama campaign seek to use an event that unified our country to once again divide us, in order to try to distract voters' attention from the failures of his administration. With 23 million Americans struggling for work, our national debt soaring, and household budgets being squeezed like never before, Mitt Romney is focused on strengthening America at home and abroad.”
**An email from Republicans:
Obama 2011: “We Don’t Need To Spike The Football”… CBS’ Steve Kroft: “Did you see the pictures?” President Barack Obama: “Yes.” Kroft: “What was your reaction when you saw them?” Obama:” It was him.” Kroft: “Why haven't you released them?” Obama: “You know, we discussed this internally. Keep in mind that we are absolutely certain this was him. We've done DNA sampling and testing. And so there is no doubt that we killed Osama bin Laden. It is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence. As a propaganda tool. You know, that's not who we are. You know, we don't trot out this stuff as trophies. You know, the fact of the matter is this was somebody who was deserving of the justice that he received. And I think-- Americans and people around the world are glad that he's gone. But we don't need to spike the football. And I think that given the graphic nature of these photos, it would create some national security risk. And I've discussed this with Bob Gates and Hillary Clinton and my intelligence teams and they all agree.” (CBS’ “60 Minutes,” 5/8/11)
Obama Campaign In 2008 Attacks Hillary Clinton For “Invok[ing] Bin Laden To Score Political Points”…
In 2008, The Obama Campaign Criticized Hillary Clinton For Trying To “Invoke Bin Laden To Score Political Points.” “As the clock ticked down on the state campaign on Monday, Obama's camp accused Clinton of trying to scare Americans, after the release of a dark new campaign ad featuring Al-Qaeda kingpin Osama bin Laden. The 30-second broadcast does not mention Obama by name, but the Illinois senator's spokesman Bill Burton fired off a robust response and brought up Clinton's vote in 2002 to authorize the Iraq war, which his boss opposed. ‘It's ironic that she would borrow the president's tactics in her own campaign and invoke bin Laden to score political points,’ Burton said.” (Stephen Collison, “Pennsylvania To Vote In Must-Win For Clinton,” AFP, 4/22/08)
Obama Campaign In 2008: “We Already Have A President Who Plays The Politics Of Fear, And We Don’t Need Another”… http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2008/04/clinton_ad_stre.html
The Obama campaign accused Clinton of fearmongering with the ad. “When Senator Clinton voted with President Bush to authorize the war in Iraq, she made a tragically bad decision that diverted our military from the terrorists who attacked us, and allowed Osama bin Laden to escape and regenerate his terrorist network. It's ironic that she would borrow the President's tactics in her own campaign and invoke bin Laden to score political points. We already have a President who plays the politics of fear, and we don't need another,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement. Obama's camp also sent out a 2004 quote from former president Bill Clinton: “Now one of Clinton’s Laws of Politics is this: If one candidate's trying to scare you and the other one's trying to get you to think; if one candidate's appealing to your fears and the other one's appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope. That's the best.”