RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (CNN) - This kingdom is the birthplace of Osama bin Laden, so it was interesting to see how the terrorist tried to overshadow President Obama's trip here by releasing a new audiotape threatening America on Wednesday.
Perhaps just as interesting is the fact that unlike their predecessors in the Bush White House, who tried their hardest to ignore bin Laden, Obama administration officials took the rare step of engaging the 9/11 mastermind by charging his latest threat is just a desperate attempt to try and upstage the president's trip.
"I don't think it's surprising that Al-Qaeda would want to shift attention away from the president's historic efforts, and continued efforts, to reach out and have an open dialogue with the Muslim world," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters during a press briefing here.
Related: Purported bin Laden tape slams U.S. role in Pakistan
It was a message reinforced by officials throughout the Obama administration: "I think the timing is pretty self-evident and it doesn't take a rocket scientist on this one," declared Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
P.J. Crowley, spokesman at the State Department, got into the act as well by teeing up the president's Thursday speech in Cairo by taunting bin Laden a bit.
"You have, you know, the leader of the free world speaking from one of the great cities in the world," said Crowley. "And you have the - you know, bin Laden speaking from an undisclosed, you know, location. And I think that speaks - that speaks volumes in terms of the contrast."
Crowley added, "So I think there will be a contrast between the, you know, Bin Laden's vision of intolerance and perpetual conflict and the president's message tomorrow offering a vision of peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, and interconnected world, you know, for the 21st century."
In private, top Obama officials are even blunter, claiming bin Laden feels threatened that Obama's outreach - coupled with his vow to shut down the prison at Guantanamo Bay - is pulling the terrorist's top recruiting tools off the table.
For his part, bin Laden charged in his audiotape: "Obama proved that he is walking the same road of his predecessors to build enmity among Muslims and increase the number of fighters against the U.S."
Sound like Leslie is a little paranoid!.. George bush Sr. and Jr. hold hands with the king of Saudi Arabia and much more.. share oil profits! I don't know what your smoking, but pass it over here!
Leslie, June 3rd, 2009 5:58 pm ET, is a hateful bigot, and Osama bin Laden is dead.
It is time for B.Laden the peace way.Enough is enough.
obama feels slighted that someone other than him would have the spotlight wherever he travels.
Anyone who belives the former President of the United States of America should be treated in the same manner as a terriost responsible for the deaths of over 3000 Americans should consider becoming a Saudi citizen or at least leaving this country – quickly !
"I don't think it's surprising that Al-Qaeda would want to shift attention away from the president's historic efforts to shift attention away from the president's historic efforts, and continued efforts, to reach out and have an open dialogue with the Muslim world," "
I hope the press secretary didn't phrase it like this otherwise he's an idiot. CNN, get some editors. I know you think everything Obama does is "historic" but there's no need to say it twice.
Hey Leslie, are you by any chance looking for attention? Or do you always make it a habit to spout off idiotic comments because you're actually a misinformed, moron? Anyway, having a clue is a wonderful thing you should give it a try sometime! That is of course after you graduate from Jr. High School!
Leslie... you're stupid.
Get an education.
Could someone please deleate Leslie's comment? It's nothing but missinformation...
Leslie – Your ignorance is truly astounding.
Seriously? You must have rocks for brains.
Thanks to Bu$h giving bin Laden an exit pass, we're still hearing from him...
Leslie, you've got serious psychological problems. Have you considered seeing a psychiatrist? They can prescribe medication that may be able to help you.
This crazy person would get no play, would lose his power if news outlets would stop advertising every single one of his ravings – I blame CNN and all the news outlets for encouraging terrorism. You give these murderers all the attention in the world, while people who do good are ignored and can't get any media to save their lives. This guy is a criminal and he gets all the airplay he wants. If you ignored him – and let the government take care of it – he would fade away – but no, you want ratings and money and that is more important than a peaceful and healthy world.
CNN, you should think about what you are doing.
Bin Laden's dead, has been for years. Come on people, do you really think he's dragging a Kidney dialysis machine around with him in the desert?
He's dead, these audio tapes are fakes. Get used to it.
Oh Leslie, you blithering idiot, your kind just can't let go of the "he's Muslim" silliness. Feel sorry for you!
Leslie = undercover al-qaeda agent
Careful what is said, CNN... Leslie and other sleeper cell terrorists are listening...
Bid Laden is dead and they are placing these ads to keep us on edge. I can see Cheney pulling this out his rear. Reject Bid Laden and his friends! He kills his own people for no reason!
Leslie – You sound like such an idiot spouting that Obama is a Muslim. Go listen to Rush some more
Bin Laden is painfully aware of President Obama's unprecedented outreach program to young Moslems and his rhetoric simply shows how scared he is the Presidents outreach will have huge impact.
Thank you Mr. President.
you are just plain stupid. If we are shut of from the people who don't like us, we get less information. Give our President some credit. He is doing an amazing job and putting out fires all over the place.
Leslie... your an idiot!!!
Bin Laden is becoming just as relevant as Republicans, no one is listening.
Leslie, you can't be serious...
So which is it Leslie? If Obama is Muslim, how could your side condemn him for spending too much time in a Christian church with Rev. Wright?
Oh yeah. Facts don't matter.
CNN, how can you possibly justify posting that comment from "Leslie" June 3rd, 2009 5:58 pm ET
I often find my comments aren't posted, and my comments are never inflammatory, nor do I ever present outright lies.
That comment is just offensive and should obviously have been "moderated" out.