April 30th, 2012
01:00 PM ET
6 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. John

    This Is Just another LIE told by Mitt Romney. He say a few months ago he wouldn't waste Time or money on one person.

    April 30, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. Ben

    Romney cannot make up is mind, or should we say that he does his dance of political convenience and float whereever he think is politically expedent. First, Romney dismiss the need to go after Bin Laden, Bush and Cheny let Bin Laden get away in Borabora. Now that we have a president who kept his eye on the ball, and send Bin Laden where he belong, and the result speaks for itself. Now Romney is changing his tune again. Where have we seen this before with Romney changing his position? Chorus-every where and any where. Romney have no core. He is shameless in his chameleon ability to change position.
    People, have you forgotten the color (terror)watch the Bush administration and the GOP use to harrase the nation with? Thanks to Obama, we don't have to go thru that any more. Have any one held Cheney lie to the nation lately that Obama is not tough on defense? He cannot say that any more because this president did the job he and Bush were incapable of doing, and failed in doing it.
    Yes, we are no longer in Iraq. Again Romney wanted to stay in Iraq. Everyone knows that in the coming months, Romney is going to change his tune about Iraq- that is who he is, he has no core.
    Romney is the same man that tell us that corperation are people. His specialty his being a vulture capitalist, firing people, and sending jobs overseas.
    If Romney was president will Osama Bin Laden be alive, will GM and Chrysler still be in business? We know the answer to that. Romney told us to let our auto industry go bankrupt. Romney was fourty eight out of fifty states in job creation when he was governor. We don't need a job exporter and a vulture capitalist in the white house.

    April 30, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  3. justsayanything

    Of course he would but not like the President did. Romney would have just blown the place up like Bush did before and how advisors wanted Obama to do in hopes of getting him. By Obamas call we were able to get tons of information with no Americans lost and proof Bin Ladin dead!

    April 30, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  4. Laverne

    The republicans are ticked off that the Obama administration is talking about the killing of Osama Bin Laden because they know that Mitt Romney's national security experience does not hold a candle to President Obama! Nice try Mittens, but you will lose everytime you start to talk about national security and foreign policy, stick to what you know Mr. One Trick Pony!

    April 30, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  5. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    very easy to say what one would have done after the thought or the deed has been done. Romney was too timid to call out Ted Nungent and Rush Limbaugh less known take on OBL.

    April 30, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. Uncle Joe

    "Richy Rich" changes his mind more than a baby has his/her diapers changed.

    My God Mitt announce a policy or idea and stick with it instead of being a politicial barometer and changing direction depending on which way the wind is blowing.

    It is no wonder your campaign doesn't gell with the average American.

    April 30, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    Get real - he would have flipped and flopped all over the place.

    April 30, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. cnnife

    "It's not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person". Wow, but this "one person" was the ring leader in the death of thousands of innocent people. I'm trying to think of something that is more important than eliminating OBL. I hope those whose family perished on 9/11 are not reading this.

    April 30, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  9. Wow

    What a fantastically offensive comment.

    It's one thing to say you would have given the order, and talk about how hard it would be to give, and the respect you have for Obama for making the tough call, and the risk of life of the military members, yadda yadda...

    ...It's quite another to make it sound like it was an EASY decision, and DUH, of course he would make the call.

    Hindsight is 20/20. Romney is so fake, it's nauseating.

    April 30, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  10. Gurgyl

    This guy is a joke. Biggest joker. Bain capital.

    April 30, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |

    Not the time to flip flop. Mitt McCain isn't ready for primetime. The few sane GOBP wingnuts know it.

    April 30, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  12. EdR

    He would have given the order....except for one thing. If he were President they never would have found him the 1st place because nobody would have been looking for him. Give it up Romney. By trying to be all things to all people you become nothing to everyone. Just a snake in the grass trying to make another chunk of change for you and your football team owner buddies. Kind of pathetic actually.

    April 30, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. Wvazoe

    Yeah, he would have given the order, when pigs fly!!!!!

    April 30, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  14. Marie MD

    From the mouth of the flip flopper "it's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person" in 2007.
    The faux news and teapublikan talking heads are trying to spin it as if he didn't mean that way. How else did he mean it? Axelrod is NOT distorting anything at all. This mutant wouldn't know a strategy if it hig him in the face unless it's about firing American workers. That he knows plenty about!!!
    Ths biloions that HAVE been spent is in two wars and the Iraq war should have NEVER been started.

    April 30, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  15. Godfather

    Romney, nor any of his sons believe in America enough to go into the military to fight and protect America so how can we believe he would have given the order to get this terrorist. I know Obama did not go into the military however he has proven that he is the only President that would have made that decision after what happened to Carter. Clinton and Bush did not make the call when they had the chance President Obama did. Romney would have made an excuse as to why he was afraid to make this call. If we want a strong President to protect America we will reelect President Obama.

    April 30, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  16. macrasta

    thing is President don't have to say what he "would have done".... checkmate

    April 30, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  17. Luke Brown

    "Of course"?

    Flip flop flip flop

    April 30, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  18. Bob

    He means he would have given the order knowing what he knows now. I don't think he would have given the order at that time. He doesn't seem to be the guy who will take a 50/50 chance. If we seen anything from his politics is that he is risk-averse.

    April 30, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  19. Joi Gibson

    First, you didn't think it was worth the time and money; however, days later you clarified. Wishy-washy, flippy-floppy. It seems to be how Willard rolls. The man should be no where near the nuclear codes.


    April 30, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  20. Pete

    Romney make the call,couldn't be more far from the truth.That pompous jerk would pawn that decision on one his corporate hedgemen,they like killing things,look at all the jobs they killed stateside and sent overseas.He'd be too busy kissing the butts of political donors,than go after a globally known terrorist ,a murderer no less,an enemy of the United States.He'll be busy conversing to his Bain group,now that he has global help to find new corporations to drain,the presidency won't slow him down,just make him richer because of new political connections.This presidency is just a front for an egomaniac that wants the world at his feet,for power,for acceptance in the grand scheme of things,not helping the old,poor,middleclass,seniors,women,children,those promises just get in the way and are out with the morning garbage,now on to new things,things that make him money....

    April 30, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. bill

    I am sure he would have given the order and then blame everyone else if something went wrong. got his number a number of debates ago.

    April 30, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  22. usualone

    Someone should ask Romney if it would have been an easy call and the mission had failed. The ramifications would be enormous from those who detest this president. It is an insult to say it was an easy call - with the Seals going into unknown danger. He simplifies things too much.

    April 30, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. ST

    Oh! please Romney, we know how you make your decisions. A person who decided to tie his pet on a car roof rack, how can he make a bold decision like killing the once wanted person in the globe.

    April 30, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  24. The Real Truth and Nothing But Real Truth

    Come on people. This was a no-brainer decision to go after Bin Laden, which is why Obama could make the decision. If it was truly a difficult decision, he would have voted "present" and led from behind like he almost always does.

    April 30, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  25. Gary

    The wind vane in my backyard changes direction less than Romney. He has even come out and told supporters that he is not going to announce specifics of his economics policies because they would draw fire. This guy as the leader of the free world will create nothing but world wide chaos. He would be dragged around by the nose by the extremist wing of his party to the detriment of the entire country.

    April 30, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
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