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. dan5404

    Shoulda, woulda, coulda. Osama is dead, General Motors is alive, no thanks to governor Robomney and crew.

    April 30, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  2. nobody important

    It seems that Obama agrees with Romney. He didn't have to move heaven and earth to get OBL. He sent in a small, well-trained team, on a specific operation without making a lot of noise, and it worked!

    April 30, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  3. JeanneLH

    Oh, Mitt...you really want to be president, don't you? My favorite comment from you was last Friday's, "Borrow money from your parents to go to college"....
    for such a smart man, why do you say such dumb things?

    April 30, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  4. mike proctor

    BULL!!! base on his last comment I doubt Mitt would give the "GO" on this mission and of cause President Obama may it work in his favor everybody is saying yes I would have done and made the same decission. My feeling is that this loser would not give such a order.

    April 30, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  5. statenislandviews

    Romney's statement about making the call is true...if he KNEW that Osama Bin Laden was in Pakistan...but the fine point for me is that Obama didn't know, it wasn't 100% confirmed, and I believe that Romney would not have taken such a bold chance. Romney doesn't operate like that...he operates with guarantees...even in business. He didn't risk it all to start his first business...it wasn't his money, he was offered an out if it should fail, and heis old job was available to him as a parachute...under those conditions a trained seal can succeed.

    April 30, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  6. salman

    Again , Mitt Romney start lyng, he would never have ordered any thing to kill Osama Bin laden . insteady he would prefer to Bomb Iran. Mitt has no charisma like Obama .

    April 30, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Mitt Romney already made the "easy call" back in 2007 during a debate. He said he would not send in boots, even if he had actionable intelligence.

    This flip-flop smells like just another sales pitch to voters. He's speaking all of the politically correct words, phrases and opinions of the day, week, month, or year. Times change, but Mitt Romney has not.

    April 30, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  8. Billy, NYC

    Learned from the history, GOP creates mess, but let others to do the clean up. When the clean up is done, GOP gladly claims the honor. SIck and Tired of the GOP's BS and their big corporation donors.

    April 30, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  9. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    What is scary is that 33% of republicans think Mittens is not lying.

    April 30, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  10. Mgc tampa

    Yea right. This man has no core, you have to have convictions to act and so far all i see is "i will be what ever you want me to be romney" not a leader, just a panderer.

    April 30, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  11. FrankinSD

    "Me too, me too" makes a pretty weak campaign theme.

    April 30, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. Bob

    Rmoney will never make a decision until he feels it is in his political interest. This is the guy R's want? OK...the rest of you elephants fall in line!

    April 30, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  13. MiketheElectrician

    Sure you would MITTEN..

    April 30, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  14. Hairball

    Nice hindsight there.

    April 30, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  15. Jackson

    Oh Mittens, you can't keep etch-a-sketching and expect to be taken seriously.

    April 30, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  16. Dan J

    I don't understand liberals and their viewpoint of republicans. If Obama had gotten the wrong intel, he would have shot up a bunch of innocent pakistanis (potentially), and the dust-up wouldn't have even made the news. Yet until this point, republicans were supposed to be the ones that didn't care about innocent lives and would have no problem shooting up innocent foreign citizens. But now, suddenly, Romney isn't capable of making that decision? You guys can't have youre cake and eat it, too.

    April 30, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  17. Max

    I DOUBT IT...

    Based on Romney's notoriety as a flop-flopper who simply can't make up his mind on 'important' issues, I doubt if he would have given an order to get Bin Laden.

    I mean, and most of us will agree, that Romney's etch-a-sketch approach doesn't cut it when it comes to making bold decisions like this one.

    On this basis he would still be changing his mind 'for and against' making such a call.

    I certainly doubt if he would've made such a bold call.

    April 30, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  18. Romney is not My Hero

    Sure he would have given the order. He would have sent all five sons to help out, with the dog strapped to the top of the airplane – Right after Anne gave him permission. LOL

    OBAMA 2012!

    April 30, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  19. aalisa31

    OK.. here goes... Mitt just doesn't seem like he would have given that order... he has no apeal at all... except for his money of course.. everything else sucks...

    April 30, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    nobody important

    It seems that Obama agrees with Romney.

    Yawn. Do you Romney folks never listen to yourselves? It doesn't matter what Romney said, didn't say, did, didn't do. The job is done, thanks to the Obama Administration.

    The bigger issue is why TeamRomney feels the need to include him into a situation he never was involved in to begin with. There are many ways which he could have handled the questions with class and dignity. To suggest his opinion was even remotely considered is foolish at best and a real "loss of respect" consequence he'll regret for years to come.

    For a man who prides himself on his moral foundation, Mitt Romney has begun that low-level "prostitution" of selling ones morality to the highest bidder that we so often see in many other political candidates who want something so bad that they become oblivious to who they are and what they stand for. Or stood for.

    April 30, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  21. Orchid333

    Let's just add this to Mitt's list of flip-flops, shall we? Boy this list is getting long.

    April 30, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  22. sonny chapman

    Ah, but would Mitt have sent any of his 5 healthy sons on the mission ?

    April 30, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  23. FLIndependent

    "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)."
    Yet you probably didn't mind the billions spent and all the lives lost to get another man – Sadam Hussein. You people are really something else. Bin Laden was the most wanted terrorist in the entire world and our President Obama followed through with his campaign promise to get him. If this had been Bush his face would be carved into Mt. Rushmore – get over it!!

    April 30, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  24. Wake up people

    @Wire Palladin S.F. I have to disagree with you here. I don't think 33% of Americans feel like he's telling the truth, I think 33% of Americans are voting for Mitt for one reason only......he's white and they believe the racist rhetoric.

    OBAMA 2012!

    April 30, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  25. Josh

    Mitt = A Joke

    April 30, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
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