July 11th, 2008
04:05 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama: Death penalty for bin Laden

CNN's Fareed Zakaria interviewed Obama Friday.
CNN's Fareed Zakaria interviewed Obama Friday.

(CNN) - Barack Obama again said Friday he favors the death penalty for Osama bin Laden should the 9/11 mastermind be captured.

In an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said bin Laden's actions have justified capital punishment.

"If he was captured alive, then we would make a decision to bring the full weight of not only U.S. justice, but world justice down on him," Obama said during the interview, the entirety of which is set to air Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

Watch: Part of Fareed Zakaria's exclusive interview with Barack Obama

"I am not a cheerleader for the death penalty - I think it has to be reserved for only the most heinous crimes," Obama also said. "But I certainly think plotting and engineering the death of 3,000 Americans justifies such an approach."

In the wide-ranging interview, the Illinois senator also criticized Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai for failing to bring order to his country.

"I think the Karzai government has not gotten out of the bunker, and helped to organize Afghanistan - the government, the judiciary, police forces - in ways that would give people confidence," he said. "So there are a lot of problems there. But a big chunk of the issue is that we allowed the Taliban and al Qaeda to regenerate itself when we had them on the ropes. That was a big mistake, and it's one I'm going to correct when I'm president."

UPDATE: Republican National Committee spokesman Alex Conant has sharply criticized Obama over his Karzai comments.

“Barack Obama had no interest in Afghanistan until he started running for president. Obama has never visited Afghanistan to meet our allies on the ground, yet he is audacious enough to assert that President Karzai has ‘not gotten out of the bunker,'" he said in a statement. "Obama’s words are naively out-of-touch with reality and offensive to America’s allies. Considering Obama’s negligent leadership of the Senate subcommittee charged with overseeing the NATO mission in Afghanistan, Obama has no credibility discussing Afghanistan."

Catch the full interview with Obama Sunday on Fareed Zakaria GPS, 1 p.m. ET


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. Jonathan, Hartford, CT

    Don't you want to sit down and talk with him, first?

    July 11, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  2. Jonathan, Hartford, CT

    How long will it take YOU to find him?

    July 11, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. Lisa

    I'm glad the super delegates haven't made there final decision yet, maybe Hillary still have a chance.

    July 11, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. Obama Supporter from FL

    Seems like a safe position. Whether you like the death penalty or not, I think all of us want Bin Laden dead.

    July 11, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. HANG HIM!!!

    CNN--Barack Obama again said Friday he favors the death penalty for Osama bin Laden should the 9/11 mastermind be captured----
    KILL HIM!!

    July 11, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. David M. Buddingh in Naperville, IL

    No suprise here considering his stance on the recent supreme court ruling.

    obama 08

    July 11, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. Joe in NJ

    That's right, execute him. That way he'll become a martyr to his followers giving them a reason to continue to promote terrorism. A better solution would be to lock him up and throw away the key. This will weaken Al Qaeda knowing that their "leader" has fallen and that they are not infallible.

    July 11, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  8. not important

    So what is the USA doing in Iraq? Osama Bin Laden is not in Iraq.

    July 11, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. Danny Zuko

    It's about time someone remembers who Bin Laden is.

    July 11, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  10. Janet Jacme

    You are a hard man Barack ... I like that.

    July 11, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  11. David M. Buddingh in Naperville, IL

    Joe in NJ

    I agree with your position.

    obama 08

    July 11, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. Danel

    Even though I disagree with you on FISA bill I will still vote for you because I am NOT a single issue voter. Your stance on Iran and bin Laden is very much in line with mine, so as with other more important issue like healthcare,economy and foreign policy. Obama08

    July 11, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. Obama Supporter from FL

    Lisa – get a clue! Wishing and hoping (and whining about Hillary on these blogs) won't bring her back!!!

    July 11, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  14. mayahh

    THOU SHALT NOT KILL, BRING HIM TO JUSTICE, HIS DAY IS SOON TO COME.......

    July 11, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  15. Independent-woman-4-Obama

    BUSH FAILED TO CAPTURE BIN LADEN.......... WITH THE 650 BILLION THE WAR IN IRAQ HAS COST THE AMERICAN TAXPAYERS (THAT'S $1.38 BILLION A DAY) WE COULD HAVE CLEAN UP AL-QUEDA ALREADY!

    July 11, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  16. Today's position

    I can't wait to hear what Obama says next.

    July 11, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  17. Joel Dean

    Death penalty is the most ridiculous idea yet for Obama. You are playing right into their hands of being a matyr by death penalty.

    Make him / them sit a a jail cell for the rest of their life so if they have any mind left, they can think about it every day.

    July 11, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  18. John from FL

    Lisa is a well-known republican operative, she is still back in the primaries. Hey, I liked Huckabee but I am not voting for him because he did not make it. WAKE UP!!!

    July 11, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  19. Chris from NY

    The media has continually said Obama flip flopped on death penalty. Any one that has been following Obama's carrer knows fully well he has supported death penalty in some cases. What he did in Chicago was to help use death penalty appropriately. For people to jump the band wagon on this flip flop thing is beginning to drive me carzy.

    I hope Osama Bin Laden commits suicide before we get to him. Otherwise he will regret the day he was born.

    July 11, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  20. Enough ALREADY!!!!

    Lisa........I'm glad the super delegates haven't made there final decision yet,..... maybe Hillary still have a chance. ARE YOU CRAZY!!!!

    HILLARY IS SPOKEN FOR ! you make comments HRC that's my GIRL ...yea but you haven't donate 1 dime toward her DEBT .......quick faking in the POT !!!!!!

    July 11, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  21. Hillbilly for Obama

    I say hang him from his toenails for the rest of his life ... if he even exists.

    Kill people for killing people .... double standard and weak.

    July 11, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  22. George

    What if he agrees to sit down and have a spot of tea. I am sure he will listen to reason. NOBAMA is such a politician.

    He has nothing new to say he sounds like someone running for High School President.....

    He is a NOVELTY being used by the left. SAD........

    July 11, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  23. Charlotte

    Maybe if Obama had held a meeting on Al Qeada in Afghanastan in the last 18 months he was chairman of that committee, I would believe his current stance. I use the word current because if it stirs a controversity, he will ask us to allow him to refine what he said.

    July 11, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  24. David, Silver Spring, MD

    I think bin Laden, if caught, should be tried in court and when convicted given 3,000 life sentences without benefit of parole. Leave him in solitary confinement with nothing to read, watch, or listen to. Let him experience the loneliness of those who lost loved ones on 9/11.

    July 11, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  25. Lisa

    I'm sorry Obama supporter from Fl, it's just so sad that we're stuck with McBama & McBush. Please help me, is there anything I can do besides write Hillary's name on the ballot?

    July 11, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
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