April 30th, 2012
01:00 PM ET
3 years ago

Romney 'of course' would have given bin Laden order

Portsmouth, New Hampshire (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney asserted firmly Monday he would have given the order to kill Osama bin Laden if he were president, despite past comments in which he questioned the value of hunting down the former al Qaeda chief.

Romney implied the president's decision - which is being hailed by Obama's re-election team as a gutsy move - was an easy call.

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Asked by a reporter if he would have given the order to kill bin Laden, Romney said "of course," and quipped: "Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order."

The candidate was shaking hands and signing autographs on a ropeline in Portsmouth, New Hampshire following an appearance with Granite State Sen. Kelly Ayotte.

In the past week top surrogates for Obama's re-election team began touting the decision – made nearly one year ago – to take out bin Laden at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. In making their arguments, many of the president's advisers have questioned whether Romney would have made the same choice. Team Obama made the argument in a web video posted Friday.

In a campaign-style speech Thursday, Biden hailed Obama as having a "backbone like a ramrod," and called into question Romney's resolve.

"We can't say for certain what Gov. Romney would have done," Biden said after hailing the president's decision.

In his speech, Biden used Romney's own words to paint the candidate as weak on fighting terrorists. Biden quoted Romney in 2007, during his first White House bid, saying "It's not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person."

Days later, Romney clarified, saying "We'll move everything to get him (bin Laden)."

– CNN's Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.

Also see:

Boehner explains jabs at Obama as 'help'

Clinton, Obama headline Virginia fund-raiser

Romney: U.S. should protect Chinese dissident

Politics of bin Laden: 'Fair game' vs. 'divisive'


Filed under: Osama bin Laden
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. Sandy

    LOL. Romney had said we shouldn't waste time and money on one person. Of course he would not have made the call!

    April 30, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. Sandy

    I forgot to mention that reason Romney would not have made the call is because his administration would not have been looking for Bin Laden in the first place. Remember he said the he wouldn't spend the money looking for him.

    April 30, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  3. cali girl

    does he even know what an "order' is?
    Wooo Hoo, Robmey in perfect form of no nothing.

    April 30, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  4. Lolo

    Sure he would have after he made sure that he ws paid under the table first and promised a cut in on the oil deals. He will not make any rational decision if it does not involve money. The picture showing him and his wife with Christie looks like his wife is running instead of him. He looks like a child waiting for permission to speak. This man has no courage at all. Such a wimp.

    April 30, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  5. SPLAT!~

    Unless of course the mission had failed, then it would be 'Of course I wouldn't have given the order.' Please!~

    April 30, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  6. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    So he was against getting OBL before was for getting him.

    FLIP/FLOP.

    April 30, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  7. Kenny K

    I wonder how GOP nominee is going to display mlitary prowess this time around siince all recent GOP nominees have run on their own or families' military service experiences. It is going to be tough for them to use military experience this time.

    April 30, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  8. mommytwice

    More flip flopping from Mitt. Wow THERE'S a shock! I really think I would pass out from shock if the man ever once took a position and stuck to it, regardless of who his audience is.

    April 30, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  9. Ferret Out The BS

    Romneys a jerk and will say anything to make himself try to look good. Fact is, he wasn't there, didn't give any orders, in fact didn't do much of anything. So shut up about it you didn't get your chance.

    April 30, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  10. Jay

    Romney: flip, flop; flip, flop; flip, flop. No guts, no cajones.

    April 30, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  11. RocketV

    You can't even call out Limbaugh and other members of your party for offensive comments. And, you think we would believe you have the backbone to make the call to kill OBL? Keep living in your fantasy world.

    April 30, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  12. SUBS 4 VOTES/Dutch Bad Newz, VA/GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    1st response: "It's not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person."
    2nd response: "We'll move everything to get him (bin Laden)."
    -------------------------------------------
    Hmmmmmmm. Which Willard should I believe? The one who was against it before he was for it? He's not ready to be C-I-C.

    April 30, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    Mitt Romney is starting to sound an awful lot like Michele Bachmann. Not an easy feat, but the more he talks, the sillier he sounds. Dude's going way off course of accepted reasoning. Truly remarkable, and probably someone who ought not get near the White House in a decision making role. It's one thing to suggest that your 5 sons are better serving America by campaigning for you during war time ... quite another to suggest life and death decisions are an "easy call" on any president, no matter who he is.

    April 30, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  14. Gurgyl

    This idiot is a joke. He said it Is a waste to catch one guy. Now flip flop....bain capital.

    April 30, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. ryan

    Romney would never take such a calculated risk. Had the raid failed, Obama's presidency would have been over. Obama believed in his people, trusted his judgement, and made a really tough call.

    Romney is an armchair quarterback, plain and simple. He disagreed with the stratagy before the end result. If Romney was currently president Osama would be alive and kicking, oh, and by the way GM would be dead – fact.

    April 30, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. cnnife

    "Romney asserted firmly Monday he would have given the order to kill Osama bin Laden if he were president". May be, may be not. Considering his earlier statement "It's not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person." I guess the question is "would he have allowed the invenstment of time, energy and resources that will create the opportunity to give the order to capture him. I doubt it. But he did said few days later that he would move everything to capture him. Where does this man actually stand on core issues?

    April 30, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  17. SUBS 4 VOTES/Dutch Bad Newz, VA/GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    I suspect we'll hear the war criminal Cheney come out and add his worthless two cents on the matter.

    April 30, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  18. Rajiv Shaw

    Yeah? Nobody would have listened to the order...he's a nobody.

    April 30, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. John, PA

    Romney would make the call, Obama had too; Leon Panetta wasn’t going to sit and watch another Liberal president do nothing!

    April 30, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  20. lynn

    mitt headroom for president of the three stooges fan club !

    April 30, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  21. Michael Murphy

    Romney would have given the order, in his dreams. Just like now he says he would have bailed out GM and saved Detroit. This guy smokes some heavy stuff, doesn't remember what he says at any given moment about anything. Good thing for tape and records to remind him. We used to call this lying now they call it misspeaking and lying

    April 30, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  22. Mark

    When Romney says that he is the most qualified to fix the economy, he's not talking about jobs. That is why he uses the word "economy". To Romney, a good economy is one in which American based businesses are making money and the stock market is either not declining, or going up. That can be done by outsourcing more and more jobs. Romney never says he is the one best able to reduce unemployment in the United States. As far as Bin Laden order is concerned, he's flip flopping again.

    April 30, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. me

    Would have. Could have. Should have. The point is that you didn't. Get over it.

    April 30, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. vic

    Sure..we believe you Mitt..LOL.

    April 30, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  25. tykl

    I applaud the Dems for another farce of a story line to keep away from the failure of the presidency that this has been under Obama. If anybody disagrees with the statement that "it is not worth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person" – please state that you do think it is worth spending billions of dollars trying to catch one person and I will show you another Dem who shouldn't be trusted with our budget (these are the same people who would like to spend 0.5B on chasing other fantasies, e.g. Solyndra). Our military and special forces discovered where he was hiding through ongoing intelligence programs and then Obama decided to strike (like anybody would). To say Obama is 'courageous' in the same way people label the SEALs is a mockery of our special forces and the word 'courageous.' Was it a difficult decision fraught with many unforeseeable outcomes? Yes. To call it courageous is hyperbolic crazy talk. And then to try and hang your foreign policy on that decision, even more crazy. And to use all this rouse as a way to distract from a failed presidency, brilliant.

    April 30, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
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