Romney calls OBL politics 'disappointing'
May 1st, 2012
09:15 AM ET
10 years ago

Romney calls OBL politics 'disappointing'

(CNN) – On the one-year anniversary of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Mitt Romney called the apparent politicization of the event "disappointing."

"I acknowledge the president's success and think he has every right to take credit for him having ordered that attack," Romney said Tuesday on CBS "This Morning." "At the same time, I think it was very disappointing for the president to try and make this a political item by suggesting that I wouldn't have ordered such a raid."

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The presumptive Republican presidential nominee reiterated that he "of course" would have ordered the attack on the compound in Pakistan that killed the former al Qaeda leader.

His response followed comments made by Obama during a press conference on Monday, during which the president took an apparent swipe at the GOP frontrunner.

"I just recommend that everybody take a look at people's previous statements in terms of whether they thought it was appropriate to go into Pakistan and take out bin Laden," Obama said. "I said I'd go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him and I did. If there are others who have said one thing and now suggest they'd do something else, then I'd go ahead and let them explain it."

When talking about the hunt for bin Laden in 2007, Romney said "It's not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions just trying to catch one person." He clarified the remark days later saying "We'll move everything to get him (bin Laden)," but that has not stopped the Obama campaign from reminding voters of the previous comments and questioning whether Romney could have made the same choice.

Following the president's press conference, Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul called Obama's comments a "cheap political ploy."

However, when asked on Monday about any potential "celebration" in honor of the anniversary, Obama said "I hardly think that you've seen any excessive celebration taking place here."

Making his case during Tuesday's interview, Romney said any "thinking American" would have acted as Obama did in 2011.

"There are plenty of differences between President Obama and myself, but let's not make up ones based on 'Well, he might not have done this,'" Romney said. "I think it's taking an event that really brought America together, that was the culmination of a lot of work by a lot of people and an enormous sacrifice, some people who put their lives very much on the line. Let's not use this as a political football."

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
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. ATLDude

    What is this? Mittens crying foul??? How does that feel buddy??
    Welcome to the big league.

    May 1, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Hey, Mitt. It's only political football as long as you keep playing the game of one upmanship. You've lost the round, and need to move on. But, be my guest. Keep playing this round if you so wish. Go for the Pyrrhic victory, Mitt.

    May 1, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  3. robforaker1

    Mr. Romney, The raid never would have happen under your command.

    May 1, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    9/11 was politicised to an extraordinary degree: Karl Rove saw it as the means by which the GOP would gain a " permanant majority". Given Romney's penchant for waffling, its fair to question whether he would have made the call, and if he would have assumed responisbility had it failed. So, as for Romney predictable whining, suck it up. You want this job, be prepared to take the hits. His last 2 years as Governor, he was MIA, so he really owes the people of MA their money back for non-performance and abandoning his job.

    May 1, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  5. Blindersoff

    Hold Romney accountable, don't let him etch-a-sketch his way out to this one. He said that he wouldn't move heaven nor earth and waste money trying to catch the one person responsibe for bombing the world trade Center with air plains, thus killing over 3,000 innocent Americans. He is a chicken hawk and a phony. Romney will hide in the back ground until the fight is over and then race to the front like he was there all the time. See Romney for who and what he really is. Nothing. Period!

    May 1, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Making his case during Tuesday's interview, Romney said any "thinking American" would have acted as Obama did in 2011.
    You're lying, Mitt. Most of the Obama advisors were dead set against puttng boots on the ground, Mitt. You would have taken the more controversial path and launched drones deep into Pakistan to reach the target. Previous drone attacks had been mostly in the Afghan border regions. Going that deep with drones was a far greater risk because you could not verfiy what you hit.

    May 1, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  7. Bill, NY

    So the Bizzaro candidate says the president should not politicize the death of Osama Bin Laden. Can you imagine the field day the republicans would be having had the mission failed? There would be thousands of TV ads and billboards across the country. Then the Bizzaro candidate goes on to say that Jimmie Carter would have given the order. Jimmie Cater yes, Romney Grits no! The same person who said it was not a priority now says that he would have done the same. I don't think so. Last year was the only time in my life that I saw a throng at the gates of the White House chanting: USA! USA! USA! I walk the streets of NYC seeing police and firefighters high fiving and fist pumps. Go on Mr. President you earned it!

    May 1, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  8. SA in OO

    No, what was more than disappointing was when President Bush stood on the flight deck of a carrier and declared "mission completed."

    When a President says he will do something and then completes the task, it's fair to take credit for fulfilling that commitment.

    "W" never leveled with the country about the grounds for going to war, underestimated the magnitude of the undertaking by a magnitude of order, and picked people who's only real qualifications where their loyalty to him to do the task. And then he declared it all a success, just as everything was starting to unravel.

    May 1, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  9. sonny chapman

    So, what word does one use when referring to George W.'s tail hook landing on an aircraft carrier, strutting around in his cute little flight suit & proclaiming HIS "Victory" in Iraq under the huge banner, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED ?

    May 1, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  10. Joi Gibson

    Oh please. If the raid had been unsuccessful, Willard would be declaring the President is weak on foreign policy (even though Willard does that anyway), doesn't know how to be commander-in-chief, blah, blah, blah. Republicans have been slamming Democrats for years about their lack of strength when it comes to foreign policy. President Obama is simply saying hold the phone Republicans. He is not celebrating, simply stating a fact. A fact which Willard does not like. And, Willard calls out the President for suggesting Willard might not have made the call, yet Willard himself takes a swipe at Jimmy Carter. Sorry Willard, it is not your time nor your turn.


    May 1, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    I think it was very disappointing for the president to try and make this a political item by suggesting that I wouldn't have ordered such a raid."
    You are a lying flip-flopper Romney. You congratulated the Presdient only after you crticized the President. One.
    Two. You wouldn't have ordered such a raid. That would've taken commitment and cojones, both of which are in short order for you. You would've had to find Ann, and SHE would've ordered the raid.
    Mamby pamby mama's boy.
    Obama 2012. Because we need an adult in the White House not child-rearing.

    May 1, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  12. Common Cents

    How is this divisive? Obama is calling Romney out on what he said. This isn't directed at anyone other than Romeny. It's not meant to split up the country. And you have to love the outrage. How dare Obama hold Romney to what he actually said. THAT"S NOT FAIR!! Only Romney is allowed to make attacks on President.

    May 1, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  13. Mikey

    Does he think its wrong, or does he just not want people to talk about yet another instance where he was on the wrong side of the issue? Romney has not exercised good judgment. He may have been an excellent corporate raider, and made himself very rich in the process, but that does not mean he would be a good President.

    Further, if politicizing OBL is so wrong, why is Romney meeting with Guliani and NY Firefighters on the OBL anniversary?

    May 1, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  14. Amazing

    What a crock and what a joke Romney is!

    May 1, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  15. Lionel

    Let's face it, Romney has lost credibility. He says one thing one day and the other the next, and he wants to be president.

    Obama has done a lot for America. Over 4 million jobs created, OBL dead and GM is alive.

    Latinos for Obama 2012

    May 1, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  16. Sandy

    Romney, if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen! Wah wah. I should be able to slam the President at will for months, but it's wrong for him to attack me back! LMAO

    Romney is a whiner!

    May 1, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  17. Is Mitt a Git?

    Mitt, our President is only shedding light on the fact that you said it was not worth spending money going looking for him, and now you say you would have made the same call that he did. It seems you are the one playing political football. Bill Clinton is simply talking about the difficult decision that was made. You have not been tested thus far, and if your campaign says anything about you–it says you are a panderous, flip flopping arrogant plutocrat.

    Obama beats you by hundreds of miles in the foreign policy arena, so you can stop talking about how you'd handle things when you've never been tested on any of them.

    May 1, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  18. Joe M.

    Obama feels comfortable using someone's past statements against them because he knows the media won't bring up the thousands of statements he's made in the past that directly contradict what he's done while President.

    May 1, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  19. Randy, San Francisco

    Doesn't take much to get Romney, the great flip flopper, off message. Get over it. OBL was killed during President Obama's watch.

    May 1, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  20. Flipper Rmoney Failure Ahead

    What's disappointing is Rmoney's sad and pathetic attempt to be a candidate for the decaying GOBP cult. Rmoney and his GOBP cult simply elevate their hypocrisy further and further each day, as they deride others for doing the very things they specialize in. In truth, there is nothing comparable to the Dems mentioning the facts about who got OBL and how, and the GOBP cult's constant fear and paranoia campaigns based on 9/11 and "global terrorism". And of course the biggest difference is the one they wan to avoid: President Obama has been far superior to Bush.

    May 1, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  21. GI Joe

    ROMNEY is the definition of disappointment

    $250 million would/could help create a lot of jobs -- if he knew how to create jobs. But he doesn't.

    May 1, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  22. John, PA

    this say it all: Taking credit: President Obama has used bin Laden's death as a campaign tool.

    'there is going to be information that will come out that Obama was not the man who made the call. He can say he did and the people who really know what happened are inside the Pentagon, are in the military and the military isn’t allowed to speak out against the commander- in-chief so his secret is safe. Senior military figures have said that Admiral William McRaven, a former SEAL who was then head of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) made the decision to take bin Laden out. Tactical decisions were delegated even further down the chain of command.’

    May 1, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  23. Mason

    Disappointing but from the classes Obama team its standard Chicago fare. You would think the anniversary would be a tribute to the men and women serving our country in intelligence and the military but surprisingly it’s all about Obama. But you know it would not be about our intelligence men and women because the crazy left was still trying in pursue them legally a few years ago until it became politically dangerous for the ONE.

    May 1, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  24. Anonymous

    OBL is dead. Had it happened under GWs 8 year watch, we'd still be having parades throughout America. Romney used his religion as a deferment not to go to Viet Nam. He shielded his own five sons throughout the Iraq and Afganistan wars, thus what he might or might not do as CIC is up for debate.

    The bigger disappointment is that the right threw Romney onto the scene as some sort of big tough hawk. Not only didn't he "create" jobs as CEO of Bain, he was instrumental in outsourcing Massachutes jobs to India.

    Mitt Romney is nothing more than a little rich boy all grown up with nothing to amuse him. So he turned to dabbling in politics.

    Turns out, he sucks at politics too.

    May 1, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  25. 1crusader

    Another "Etch-A-Sketch "moment by Romney.He said it wasn't worth spending the money and resources to find bin Ladin, who killed 3, 000 of our citizens; and after calculating that maybe that wouldn't/ didn't play well, politically, he went out and said something else; and now, when his words have come back to haunt him, he, and the GOP are scrambling to "fix" the mess.He, nor the GOP congratulated the president on the mission's success, initially; but, in their world, the president is the divider.

    May 1, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
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