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.
- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
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.