July 11th, 2008
04:05 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama: Death penalty for bin Laden

CNN's Fareed Zakaria interviewed Obama Friday.

CNN's Fareed Zakaria interviewed Obama Friday.

(CNN) - Barack Obama again said Friday he favors the death penalty for Osama bin Laden should the 9/11 mastermind be captured.

In an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said bin Laden's actions have justified capital punishment.

"If he was captured alive, then we would make a decision to bring the full weight of not only U.S. justice, but world justice down on him," Obama said during the interview, the entirety of which is set to air Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

Watch: Part of Fareed Zakaria's exclusive interview with Barack Obama

"I am not a cheerleader for the death penalty - I think it has to be reserved for only the most heinous crimes," Obama also said. "But I certainly think plotting and engineering the death of 3,000 Americans justifies such an approach."

In the wide-ranging interview, the Illinois senator also criticized Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai for failing to bring order to his country.

"I think the Karzai government has not gotten out of the bunker, and helped to organize Afghanistan - the government, the judiciary, police forces - in ways that would give people confidence," he said. "So there are a lot of problems there. But a big chunk of the issue is that we allowed the Taliban and al Qaeda to regenerate itself when we had them on the ropes. That was a big mistake, and it's one I'm going to correct when I'm president."

UPDATE: Republican National Committee spokesman Alex Conant has sharply criticized Obama over his Karzai comments.

“Barack Obama had no interest in Afghanistan until he started running for president. Obama has never visited Afghanistan to meet our allies on the ground, yet he is audacious enough to assert that President Karzai has ‘not gotten out of the bunker,'" he said in a statement. "Obama’s words are naively out-of-touch with reality and offensive to America’s allies. Considering Obama’s negligent leadership of the Senate subcommittee charged with overseeing the NATO mission in Afghanistan, Obama has no credibility discussing Afghanistan."

Catch the full interview with Obama Sunday on Fareed Zakaria GPS, 1 p.m. ET

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. RAY


    July 11, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  2. Independent Colorado

    Smart Man! I am tired of people saying Obama is weak on foreign policy. He knows how to use force but I agree with him that it should not always be the first course of action.

    July 11, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  3. Aries

    Death is a rich life for him, we've already spent enough on wars and immortality, let him have a poor life by rotting in his own mind in a 4 X 6.

    July 11, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  4. NotFallingInLine.org

    Watch Barry flip, flop and flounder to the right.

    He's a disgrace.

    NFIL Voter


    July 11, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  5. Paul

    Why would the US kill their best CIA operative?

    July 11, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  6. Griff

    If you don't want the Jessie Jackson proof... Why the Blog Obama???
    Your a Liar... Period....

    July 11, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  7. David Goldman


    July 11, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  8. Jeremiah Grant - Phoenix, AZ

    My guess is many of you missed it, but the phrase "world justice" ought to concern you. Obama often talks about "international law", "world justice", and globalism.

    Make no mistake about it, Obama is a globalist that wants to hasten the day when sovereign nations are no more, the day when countries of the world are governed by one global organization. You think the UN is bad now, wait until Obama gets done with the US. Then we'll have the UN on steroids and the US will have been castrated of even more of its sovereign rights. The Constitution will become a relic of the past as Obama subjects us to "international law" and "world justice". Personally, I'm quite concerned.

    July 11, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  9. bruja

    Is there ANY proof Bin Laden is behind 9/11? There are other theorys...

    July 11, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. Trollmaster

    Even Obama's position on Bin Laden is far better than the Republican position of not being concerned about finding him.

    Even on matters of war, Obama has McCain beat.

    July 11, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    At least we know that the Obama administration will not be afraid to go after bin ladin. The bush administration had him and let him go. Probably something to do with oil.

    July 11, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  12. Jo

    For those of you who agree with Obama and for those of you who don't, just wait awhile because he will "refine his positiion". He already has on a woman's right to choose, on FISA, NAFTA, Iraq and government sponsorship of religion. I have seen many write that the reason they did not support Clinton was that she would say anything to get elected. I think the complaint is valid but more for Obama

    July 11, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  13. Teddy California

    I believe Obama once said we should not make Bin Laden a martyr by giving him a death penalty. This is another position change. It seems you can see a position change every day from him.

    July 11, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  14. Emily

    I think we should be careful about giving him the death penalty..I believe that would simply make a martyr and another would step up to take his place. It is a double edged sword really, because I do believe his crimes are capital punishment worthy but killing him won't solve anything...then throwing him in jail has him supported by tax payers money...

    July 11, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  15. Will, NJ

    Who needs to execute him? Just "accidentally" unplug his dialysis machine.

    July 11, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  16. Republicans For Obama

    YES!!!! Hurray For Obama!!!!

    Bush and McCain have long forgot about Bin Laden, instead they have their heads stuck in the desert in Iraq.

    Obama is the only one that is out to Capture Bin Laden, the real terrorist that attacked us on 9-11.

    Republicans, Democrats, and Independents are going to vote for Obama by WIDE MARGINS!!!!!

    Obama 08

    July 11, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  17. Ron democrat turned independent

    this obama is a joke he going to go into Afghanistan tell the head of the country he doesn't like what he's doing then try to jab his superior judgement down his throat. lots of luck . he will end up fighting Pakistan and maybe Iran then back to Iraq. and do you know what he can't blame Clinton now so it will be all McCain and bush's fault what a joke

    July 11, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  18. voter

    Charlette said: Maybe if Obama had held a meeting on Al Qeada in Afghanastan in the last 18 months he was chairman of that committee, I would believe his current stance. I use the word current because if it stirs a controversity, he will ask us to allow him to refine what he said.

    Obama is the chair of European affairs. Last time I checked, Afghan is not in europe, but the middle east. The chair of afghan is kerry and biden.

    July 11, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  19. James Hussein, SC

    Although Senator Obama has indicated that he supports the dealth penalty for Osama B. L., it is up to the courts to make the final verdict. So let's start thinking folks.

    July 11, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  20. Griff

    This piece of Garbage, would say anything to get elected... And you trust him CNN?????????????????

    July 11, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  21. Cody

    I support you Obama. Even on FISA (I think). But not on this. Either the state should have the right to take a prisoner's life or it should not. Your position that the death penalty should be reserved only for the most heinous folks has no way to be objectively implemented. Who decides what "most heinous" is? This is the same kind of soft-minded, sentimentalist nonsense that so many conservatives push.

    July 11, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  22. Interesting

    George July 11th, 2008 5:03 pm ET

    What if he agrees to sit down and have a spot of tea. I am sure he will listen to reason. NOBAMA is such a politician.

    He has nothing new to say he sounds like someone running for High School President…..

    He is a NOVELTY being used by the left. SAD……..


    You must be the most simple minded guy in this blog by far. If I can suggest... I think people like you suppost to read and wonder NOT write so please just read.

    I'll bet that you elected Bush too, didn't ya? hahah I knew it!!

    July 11, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  23. Hopeful, Not Practical

    No, Lisa. As an American you don't have a choice except to write Hillary's name on the ballot. You can also hope that others will write Hillary's name on the ballot. But in the history of our country, we've never elected a president through a write-in vote. So it's hopeful, but not practical.

    What's practical is to say that you don't have a president that would have been your choice, but you will find SOMETHING about that president that you can have a mutual understanding. Otherwise, it's going to be a long four years.

    July 11, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  24. Griff

    You are Black, Obama.... Just like the other Jackson... You can't wash it off.... Maybe you need a Nose-Job too?????

    July 11, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  25. Marc PDX

    I'm a republican but I don't believe in the death penalty. Life without possibility of parole yes, but death no. I don't believe a human (or a government) should decide who lives and who dies. So Obama's position on this puts him the the right of me... which I find utterly perplexing! Would a fellow liberal please explain this to me – I didn't think that the death penalty was a liberal position? What gives?

    July 11, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
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