Is Obama wrong to use bin Laden's death to attack Romney?
The president's campaign creates a stir by suggesting Mitt would not have ordered the mission to kill the 9/11 mastermind
President Obama is not going to let voters forget his most spectacular foreign policy success: The killing of Osama bin Laden. And in a new campaign video, Team Obama suggests that Republican Mitt Romney would not have ordered the raid. (See the video below.) After Bill Clinton is featured praising Obama for his strength and decisiveness, the video needles in by asking, "What path would Mitt Romney have taken?" The clip also features Romney's criticisms of Obama's vow to strike al Qaeda targets within Pakistan, and Romney's years-old assertion that "it's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person." Vice President Joe Biden is also hammering Romney on the campaign trail, saying that while Obama has a "backbone like a ramrod," no one can "say for certain" how Romney would have acted. Is Obama wrong to use bin Laden's death as a "political cudgel"?
Yes. Obama should be ashamed: This video is "shameless," says Morgen Richmond at Hot Air. The Obama campaign even stooped to releasing it on the "one-year anniversary of bin Laden's death for maximum political effect." If Obama had any class, he would follow the example of the U.S. commandoes who fulfilled the mission, "and let his actions speak for themselves." "New campaign video asks: Would Mitt Romney have made the call to kill bin Laden?"
No. Obama has a legitimate case to make: Bin Laden's death is fair game, especially because Romney's lack of foreign policy experience is a "legitimate vulnerability," says Steve Benen at The Maddow Blog. Romney has "no background in military policy, national security policy, or international affairs," and he really did say all those naive things that the video captures. "The more Americans hear about this, the worse it is for the GOP nominee.""The bin Laden mission, one year later"
Either way, Romney invited this attack: Romney has recently downplayed the raid by claiming that "any president" would have made Obama's call, says Benjy Sarlin at Talking Points Memo. But the fact is, Romney has a long history of diminishing the importance of capturing or killing bin Laden, going all the way back to the 2008 election. Obama has been consistently more hawkish than his rivals when it comes to taking out bin Laden, and he'll seize every opportunity to point that out. "Romney's 2007 bin Laden gaffe comes back to haunt him"
But using Bill Clinton is cheap: "What the hell is Bill Clinton doing being the narrator of the ad?" says Jonah Goldberg at The National Review. His presence makes this an "expressly partisan hack job," which seems unbecoming for a former president. "Aren't ex-presidents supposed to be the foremost champions of the (largely mythological) imperative to stop partisanship at the water's edge?" "What's Bill Clinton doing?"