Romney: Obama is 'politicizing' bin Laden death
May 1st, 2012
05:44 PM ET
10 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. ray

    has anyone ever ask themselves why this liar romney has no sons in the military? this liar, hypocrite , moron has five songs and none is in the military. hi ann how come you never let one of the fiv rich boys defends the usa/

    May 1, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  2. Gigi

    Right, it's not fair for President Obama to show that he is a man of his word and that I just go with the flow!

    May 1, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  3. Dick Cheney is the smegma of mankind!

    "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."

    The differences between Mr. 1% and a real leader should be pointed out, especially during an election year.

    Mr. 1% is after the one quoted in '07 that spending billions on one man, "cost too much".

    We need to know that Mr. 1% puts a higher priority on money than he does on the "cost" of 4500+ young American lives.

    Especially, while his 5 little trust fund babies, did nothing.

    Mittens will be quick to send the children of the 99% to be used as cannon fodder, but his 5 will be doing "more worthy" tasks, such as helping him run for office.

    May 1, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  4. greg

    romney needs to just shut up . he is a twit and has no foreign policy or any experiance in foreign policy with the exception to swiss accounts and the cayman islands. The repo party tells him how and when to think. Thats scary in and of itself. GO foward 2012 vote Obama

    May 1, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  5. grahame rhodes

    Romney upon saying what he did should try saying that to the victims and their families in the world trade center twin towers of 9/11 Then he should try saying that to the victims and their families of the 14000+ service men and women who are victims of Bin Laden's lust for power. Would he have said the same about Adolf Hitler I wonder? After all he was only one man as well. Romney made this a political issue before President Obama who responded and for Romney to try to change that just shows his and the GOPs desperation. Romney is pathetic

    May 1, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  6. steven harnack

    Except he wouldn't have been in a position to say go or not go because 4 years ago Mitt said that going after Bin Laden wasn't worth the trouble and expense, so had Mitt been commander in chief nobody would have even been looking for him. Besides taht Bin Laden was always worth way more to Republicans alive than he is dead. They're so short on boogie men that they are trying to restart the cold war with Russia!

    May 1, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  7. Dennis1020

    The Republicans questioned Candidate Obama's national security bona fides duringhte 2008 campaign and have made a career out of politicizing 9/11, but don't think President Obama should get political credit for getting OBL?!? To quote from that "great" (tongue in cheek) Republican Vice President, Spiro Agnew, the Republicans have turned into a bunch of "nattering nabobs of negatism."

    May 1, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  8. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Other than a billion dollars from the Kochs, the swift boaters, and Rove; Mittens has got nothing.

    May 1, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  9. treleone

    And you're not "politicizing" by standing in NY with Rudy G? Just give the POTUS credit and move on.

    May 1, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  10. PTNY

    Shhhh...hush. You are starting to look silly.

    May 1, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  11. Flipper Rmoney Failure Ahead

    Awww. poor Rmoney wants to double down on his anti-Obama poutrage. His GOBP cult has been politicizing 9/11 and "the global war on terror" for years and now they've been exposed as posers and losers. Give it a rest ya cry babies.

    May 1, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  12. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Romney evidently did not have television when Rove, Bush, Guiliani, Cheney, and the entire republican party politicized 9-11 in the 2004 election, and tried to sell their incompetence as a strength.

    May 1, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    Keep explaining, Weaksauce. Didn't anyone ever tell you: if you're explaining, you're losing. The semantic games will continue, however, beacuse there's enough flip-floppery in Deputy Doublethink's historical record (despite his attempts to rewrite it all) to bring up at least a new one each week. Should keep you "liberal" MSM types real busy trying to smooth it over and whitewash it for him and help him bullhorn his "explanations."

    May 1, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  14. James

    If this is the best Romney can come up with, it's going to be a long campaign for him.

    May 1, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  15. Leo

    Will somebody put this fish back in the water.

    May 1, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  16. K1k2lee

    Mitt should never, NEVER criticize anyone for their political tactics – after the nauseating negative ads in which he drowned his opponents during the primaries. The really low level to which he was willing to sink and his own etch-a-sketch strategy just shows the man has no scruples at all.

    May 1, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  17. Joe from Ohio

    So wait. Romney says in another interview he "most certainly" would have taken out Bin Laden. And now he says Obama is politicizing it. the flip-flops continue....

    May 1, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  18. Four and The Door

    Obama has been a "One Hit Wonder" thanks to Seal Team Six. Expect him to dwell on it as long as his Campaign Manager David Axelrod will let him. Meanwhile he will be working diligently to find another distraction from the economy and the debt.

    May 1, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  19. B

    Get over it Romney, you could not have pulled it off because at -three in the morning- you can’t wait for the next poll to tell you which way the – political wind is blowing- to make a choice...

    Obama put his Presidency on the line for that one and we all know that you would Never do that !

    May 1, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  20. Bill

    Wait... campaigning in NYC, at Engine Co 24 no less, on the anniversary of the death of OBL, isn't considered politicizing the event?

    May 1, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  21. Jose Chung

    Romney isn't much of a strategist is he? Why spotlight an opponent's strengths and then double down on the mistake. If this is his campaign mode what sort of nonsense will he indluge in if elected?

    May 1, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  22. G

    Romney looked so weak and about two inches tall today.

    May 1, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  23. varag

    If Romney and GOP do not want to politicize a major success as Commander in Chief of the greatest army in the world, then what gives them right to criticize the president when the economy is doing so well. Note that Economy is not completely under President's control, Congress actually plays a major role. It is proven with Bin Laden incident then when President is authority and an extremely risky and complex situation, Obama has the right frame of mind to lead our country in the right direction. Saving GM was another such example.
    Romney misjudged both the situations.

    May 1, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  24. Don in Albuquerque

    Yes, and Mittens thought going after Bin Laden was a terrible waste of money. Kind of like letting Capone go and saying this is just toooooooo hard. With guy like Mitt running we might as well elect one of the Afgan mountain fighters. They would probably have a better idea what it is like to be middle class or lower and more intelligent. Oh well, as they say on Broadway-–Send in the Clowns.

    May 1, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  25. BoulderBill

    Hey, Mitt, we heard you the first 30 times you said it, 10 times this morning on a talk show alone. We've moved on.

    Don't think we don't know what you are doing. Stop politicizing the event and move on yourself.

    May 1, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
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