June 3rd, 2007
09:06 PM ET
4 years ago

Obama and Kucinich differ on bin Laden hypothetical

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) - Asked what they would do if they knew where Osama bin Laden, would be for a twenty minute period. Sen. Barack Obama and Rep. Dennis Kucinich gave significantly different answers to the hypothetical situation.

“I don't think that a president of the United States, who believes in peace, and who wants to create peace in the world, is going to be using assassination as a tool,” Kucinich said.

“I think that Osama bin Laden, if he's still alive, ought to be held to account in an international court of law,” the Ohio congressman said, adding that if the United States were to engage in “assassination politics,” it would inevitably foster assassinations of U.S. leaders.

But Obama disagreed saying, “Osama bin Laden has declared war on us, killed 3,000 people, and under existing law - including international law - when you've got a military target like bin Laden, you take him out,” he said. “And if you have 20 minutes, you do it swiftly and surely.”

– CNN Associate Producer Taylor Gandossy

soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Todd, Madison, WI

    Dennis Kucinich!!! Not Douglas

    June 3, 2007 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  2. oregon

    Obama showed nothing in this debate. Kucinich comes across as a pleasant by someone stereotypical progressive. There was relatively little grasp of detail.

    June 3, 2007 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Everyone except Kucinich does not value the loss of innocent civilian life, in the question that was posed. I guess the loss of Pakistani life would be okay as long as bin Laden is taken out. I wonder what the answers would be if the setting was placed within U.S. borders. Good to know that these candidates favor the al-Qaeda stance of killing innocent civilians, for the purpose of achieving thei political goals.

    June 3, 2007 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  4. Simon, Brooklyn, NY

    Douglas Kucinich? You must be kidding.

    June 3, 2007 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  5. Ada. Kansas City, Mo

    If you don't understand the difference between purposely killing civilians in terrorist attacks and accidently killing a few civilians in a targeted attack on a known terrorist who has declared war on us, you are hopelessly out of touch. I'm talking to you Kucinich.

    June 3, 2007 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  6. Keith Barnum, Greenville, SC

    Tell Mr/Ms Gandossy that if he/she isn't informed enough to know the candidates names, maybe he/she isn't qualified to write about them. It's Dennis, not "Douglas".

    June 3, 2007 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  7. Zack, Pittsburgh, PA

    If he hadn't already earned it, Obama secured my vote with his response here. While the loss of any life is always a tragedy, presidents are regularly faced with difficult decisions of this sort and must maintain the strength and integrity to make the calls that most of us are incapable of making. A president must weigh the loss of life he causes against the loss of life that he allows to happen if he does not act. Unfortunately, we live in a dirty world where our leaders cannot afford to live in ivory towers.

    June 3, 2007 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  8. Francis Carroll Ormond Beach FLorida

    kidding about what? The first to advocate a unilateral pullout in 04 and question the existence of the WMDs, advocate universal health care, advocate for an international rule of law, and wanting the economy be reformed to give the little guy a shot- you must be kidding – ever read "A Prayer For America"? Sorry to see a guy not be taken serioulsy because he can't get a good haircut and isnt 6'4" oh well

    June 3, 2007 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  9. Craig, Dallas, Tx

    Chalk one up for Dennis K, if we are to be world leaders then we must lead by example and value all life. People like Osama Bin Laden will always be replaced by other maniacs, and as much as I would like to see him held to account for his actions, I do not beleive we should stoop to the level of the terrorists to do so. We are better than that and should not be willing to sacrifice innocent life to do so. These type of actions are what spawn more terrorists as they will point to the death of civilians as reason to join their jihad against America. It is a shame that Kucinich does not get the coverage he deserves as he is one of the few candidates who marches to his own beat and does not worry about trying to please all people.

    June 3, 2007 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  10. Gray, Monterey, CA

    I agree with Kucinich. Obama is trying to sound tough. It's one of the weak spots in Democratic candidates-trying to overcome the charges of being "bleeding heart liberals."

    June 3, 2007 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  11. ellie, San Luis Obispo, CA

    I agree that if it was known that Bin Laden was hiding in the US, those candidates wouldn't have been likely to advocate for a bombing that would result in American collateral damage so quickly, if at all. Why is it that the life of a blond toddler in the US is more valuable than a dark-skinned Pakistani goat herder? Life is life.

    I feel ya, Dennis.

    June 3, 2007 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  12. Jeff Richardson, Tacoma, WA

    That was a ridiculous question, but I'm glad Dennis answered it with poise and compassion. It makes sense to not bomb people just because you think they're guilty of something.

    Osama bin Laden still hasn't been put on trial. We don't have videotape of him ordering any attacks. As far as I know, there is no evidence linking him to the planning of the 9/11 attacks. If there were don't you think Bush would wave it around every chance he gets? We need to pick up bin Laden and the rest of these Al Qaeda turkeys and have a trial, not go lobbing missiles on their heads like that jerk President in Clear and Present Danger. That isn't the way you run the world.

    Dennis is right, we need a new way of running this country. I hope he wins or at least shifts the debate away from this cowboy bulls***.

    When will anyone ask why Bin Laden is still free? Hello, people, Bush and Bin Laden are best buds. They need each other. If Bin Laden was killed, Bush couldn't use him to scare us into doing his every whim.

    June 4, 2007 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  13. Jeff Richardson, Tacoma, WA

    Kucinich is right on. We've seen how useful extrajudicial killings are in Israel. Murdering the opposition doesn't make the undecided man on the street any more likely to support your cause, and if you kill members of his family in the process, he's even likely to join your opponent.

    June 4, 2007 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  14. Faiza Mokhtar, Los Angeles, CA

    You know as much I thought that Kucinich's answer was logically sound and went in line with his values and beliefs, really international law??! That's a joke because the United States has disregarded int'l law on so many occasions, it will be difficult to hold in such legitimacy when the United Nations was created over a half a century ago.

    June 4, 2007 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  15. Joe, Indianapolis IN

    i've noticed that the ticker hasn't mentioned anything about what I thought was the most interesting aspect of the debate: Obama's refusal to answer obsurd hypotheticals

    June 4, 2007 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |