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The president's bin Laden announcement: Did he nail it?
Obama informed Americans of the al Qaeda leader's death in an unexpected televised address. Did his tone do justice to the extraordinary occasion?
 
President Obama announces to the world on May 1, 2011 that Osama bin Laden had been killed by U.S. military in Pakistan.
President Obama announces to the world on May 1, 2011 that Osama bin Laden had been killed by U.S. military in Pakistan.
Getty

The video: President Obama made a dramatic, somber televised statement late Sunday to confirm the killing of Osama bin Laden. (See the video below.) Obama said that, at his direction, a small team of American commandos had flown deep into Pakistan to raid a walled compound where intelligence analysts had believed since August that bin Laden was hiding (it took months to confirm the initial lead). Obama, who authorized the raid last week, said a small team of Americans carried it out with "extraordinary courage and capability," flying to the compound by helicopter and killing bin Laden in a firefight. "On nights like this one," Obama said, "we can say to families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda's terror: Justice has been done."
The reaction:
In real time, Obama's nine-minute address seemed a little "too long and detailed for the circumstances," says James Fallows in The Atlantic. But listening again later, "I was more impressed by the craftsmanship and necessity of most parts of the speech." Obama rightly tried to summon back our post-9/11 unity, and his tone, "sober rather than exultant, was also appropriate." It's unfortunate that Obama tried to make this all about him, says Brett M. Decker in The Washington Times. "He used the words 'I,' 'me' and 'my' so many times it was hard to count for such a quick message." He's in full re-election campaign mode, trying to exploit the occasion to blot out his image as a "lackluster leader who has undermined American power." Still, even Obama's GOP rivals had to see the speech as a great moment for Obama, say Ben Smith and Glenn Thrush at Politico. His account of the bold, risky raid contrasted with conservative criticism that he is indecisive and militarily naive. And by delivering the news the public had been waiting to hear for 10 years, Obama got "perhaps his purest moment of connection with the American people." Watch Obama's statement below:

 

 

 

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