Romney: Obama is 'politicizing' bin Laden death
May 1st, 2012
05:44 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney: Obama is 'politicizing' bin Laden death

New York (CNN) – While standing outside Engine Company 24, which lost 11 firefighters on September 11, Mitt Romney reiterated Tuesday he would also have ordered the mission to kill Osama bin Laden but criticized President Barack Obama for politicizing his role on its one-year anniversary.

"This is a person who had done terrible harm to America and who represented a continuing threat to civilized people throughout the world, and had I been president of the United States, I would have made the same decision the president made which was to remove him," Romney said.

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Romney's comments came before Obama's surprise arrival in Afghanistan for a visit to sign an agreement between the two governments and greet troops in theater.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee had marked the anniversary of the top al Qaeda leader's death by appearing with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The two delivered six large pizza pies to the firefighters at the New York fire station.

After eating inside and taking pictures in front of fire trucks, Romney and Giuliani – the first time the pair has appeared together since they ran against each other in 2008 – spoke briefly and took questions from reporters.

Romney was asked to explain a statement he made in 2007 in which he criticized candidate Obama who at the time said he would be willing to go into Pakistan to hunt down bin Laden. He later clarified his point, but the president's re-election team has hammered on Romney for it.

The businessman and former Massachusetts governor said his position was the same as Vice President Joe Biden, also a candidate in the last presidential cycle.

"There are many people who believed as I did that it was naïve on the part of the president, at the time as a candidate, to say he would go into Pakistan," said Romney. "It was a very – if you will – a fragile and flammable time in Pakistan and I thought it was a mistake of him as a candidate for the presidency of the United States to announce that he would go in."

Romney gave Obama credit for his role in bringing down the top al Qaeda leader, who was in Pakistan, but derided the president for making it a political issue for personal gain.

"I think politicizing it and trying to draw a distinction between himself and myself was an inappropriate use of the very important event that brought America together, which was the elimination of Osama bin Laden."

Also see:

Romney might convince me, Christie says

Obama calls out 'previous statements' about bin Laden

McDonnell's Va. ads are about his state, not himself, spokesman says


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Osama bin Laden • President Obama
soundoff (165 Responses)
  1. ShawnDH

    I think I speak for most Americans when I say, "Shut up Mittens." Keep in mind, Mittens wouldn't have even pursued bin Laden to begin with. Too expensive! But borrowing 3 trillion dollars from China over the next 10 years to pay for the Bush tax scam that bankrupted our nation is GREAT! What a jerk.

    May 1, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    "It was a very – if you will – a fragile and flammable time in Pakistan and I thought it was a mistake of him as a candidate for the presidency of the United States to announce that he would go in."

    Sure Mitt. Uh huh. It was never an issue to begin with until McCain and others chose to make it an issue. Poor fool. He's been running around in circles trying to capitalize on his Etch A Sketch lie not realizing how silly he looks chasing the wind.

    "I think politicizing it and trying to draw a distinction between himself and myself was inappropriate..."

    Says the candidate visiting a NYC Fire Station while standing next to Rudy (9/11) Giuliani himself.

    May 1, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  3. tram

    "Romney was asked to explain a statement he made in 2007 in which he criticized candidate Obama who at the time said he would be willing to go into Pakistan to hunt down bin Laden. "

    Obama : Willing, Able, Victorious. Romney: Big phat flip flopping egg on his Etch-a-sketch!

    May 1, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  4. HUNTER

    "Politicizing" in this case equals getting credit where credit is due. If a Republican president were in office, you bet they would be "politicizing" it to death! I think Romney ought to leave this one alone.

    May 1, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  5. Slightly Left of Center

    ,,,had I been president of the United States, I would have made the same decision the president made which was to remove him," Romney said.

    Easy to say when the outcome was so successful. Had the outcome been different, Robmey would be singing a completely different tune about how wrong our Prez was to make that decision and how it should have been done. Monday morning quarterback....woulda coulda shoulda.

    May 1, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  6. interested 48

    Like he wouldn't do the same!

    May 1, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  7. svann

    Did you complain when GoP politicized the hostage rescue failure that Carter ordered? You cant have it both ways.

    May 1, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  8. johnjay

    Romney says that Obama is politicizing bib Laden's death WHILE he is standing outside a station that lost members during 9/11. Humm.....hypocrite?

    May 1, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  9. Richard Broderick, Jr.

    "I thought it was a mistake of him as a candidate for the presidency of the United States to announce that he would go in."

    So Mitt, you said you wouldn't have gone into Pakistan, but you would now have us to believe that you really did not mean that and that in reality you always would have done so. And further, contrary to your words, your prior criticism of the President was not really about his announced policy (with which you secretly agreed), but rather you criticism is that he had the poor judgment to tell the truth.

    Mitt you are a mess.

    May 1, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  10. MrPerezMarc

    Hummm, sounds like an etch a sketch comment. He must have shaken it and drew up a new opinion.

    May 1, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  11. B4Real

    The president, like anyone else seeking a job, has the right to place on his or her resume, any accomplishments that could prove them to be qualified for the job. The president is simply providing the country his resume – his record, on national security and terrorism. While Mr. Boehner and his fellow GOP members are unable to claim the accomplishments claimed by president Obama, they have the same right as the president to list on their resume their accomplishments – two wars, a Great Recession, a reduction of the countrys credit worthiness and an all-out attack on women and the countrys middle class.

    May 1, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  12. ondeck

    Are you kidding me? Had the republicans been in and given the order we would have heard about it in detail every day for the last year. This was huge for the US and Obama has walked a fine line of being humble but still victorious – this is hard to do but he has handled it with class. Take a lesson GOP.

    May 1, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  13. ARALE NORIMAKI

    “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person (Bin Laden)”
    -Mitt Romney

    May 1, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  14. B4Real

    When John Boehner states president Obama is politicizing his decision to raid the OBL compound he is totally wrong. The president, like anyone else seeking a job, has the right to place on his or her resume, any accomplishments that could prove them to be qualified for the job. The president is simply providing the country his resume – his record, on national security and terrorism. While Mr. Boehner and his fellow GOP members are unable to claim the accomplishments claimed by president Obama, they have the same right as the president to list on their resume their accomplishments – two wars, a Great Recession, a reduction of the countrys credit worthiness and an all-out attack on womens and the countrys middle class.

    May 1, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  15. weR4freedom

    Romney your the man for America 2012/2016!

    May 1, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  16. Chad

    It is most unfortunate that politics has come down to attacking your opponent's every move, regardless of how great his move might have been.
    It takes very little human decency to say that someone has done a good thing when he is your political opponent. I wish Mr. Romney had shown that bit of dignity and class.
    Mr. Obama did our country very proud in giving the order that ended the reign of terror of Osama Bin Laden, and showed terrorists that America will not rest until justice is done: If you attack our people, we WILL get you, no matter how long it takes, or where you hide..
    Even Mr. Romney should show gratitude and respect for a GREAT decision... and leave his criticisms for other actions. Have the courage to go face to face. Stabbing the president in the back for a job well done does not show great leadership...only pettiness...and frankly, we don't need that in the White House.

    May 1, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  17. Slightly Left of Center

    Robmey said, "...and I thought it was a mistake of him as a candidate for the presidency of the United States to announce that he would go in."

    Why? Because he addressed what the American people wanted - Bin Laden killed or captured no matter where he was cowering? At least he stood by his word. And we don't care what Pakistan thinks!!

    May 1, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  18. Nobodies Pon

    Heaven and Earth got moved now what Romney you just spineless and want to cry.He can run on killing Bin Laden all day and night. What Romney needs to run on why are you better than the president?Come up with real sound answers and not republican talking points and insults. Stop appealing to racsits backwood hillbillies because they dont vote. The hate black people crowd is getting smaller every year they are dieing off.

    May 1, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  19. Slightly Left of Center

    ...spoke briefly and took questions from reporters?

    Reporters? I would rather hear questions from the firemen they visited and how they were answered.

    May 1, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  20. Chad

    And let's not forget that Romney was against pursuing Bin Laden into Pakistan.... "It's not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person."
    He was wrong. It was worth it...every penny of it. Bravo Mr. President.
    And Mr. Romney... if you can't say something without putting your foot in it.... say nothing at all. It makes you sound more intelligent.

    May 1, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  21. jrm03063

    Obama isn't politicizing Osama's death – he's properly underscoring his competence to make big decisions in an election year. In any event – I don't recall the GOP complaining – at the time – about "Mission Accomplished"....

    May 1, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  22. mcskadittle

    jealous much?

    May 1, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  23. J

    ...compared to our previous president, who politicized Bin Laden's very existence. "Either you're with us or you're with the terrorists."

    May 1, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  24. Jeb

    Romney said that it wasn't worth the effort to try to bring Bin Laden to justice. Obama proved him wrong.

    May 1, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  25. chaz8181

    Don't believe a word this man ,Romney says

    May 1, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
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