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.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

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. Ron Thibodeau

    It's bad for Obama to 'politicize' Osama Bin Laden's death, says Romney..... he buys pizza for firefighters at a fire house where brave men and women lost their lives on 9/11.... does that mean that Romney is 'politicizing' 9/11?

    but that's OK?

    May 1, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  2. demrules

    Whether you are a presidential candidate or the president, people want to know that you are decisive in your actions and your comments. Romney thinks it was naive that the then candidate Obama would say that he would go into Pakistan and get Obama. For those of us who actually listen and watch, this man- now President, had a vision and fulfilled that vision. Every naysayer and critic of his is safer today because of that vision. It's refreshing to know that he actually has a "pair" that he is not afraid of what haters say about him. He's a real American! The crying a easily hurt feelings of these GOP guys is so disgusting. They want everyone to apologize for their comments that shine a light on the circus style antics of the GOP!

    May 1, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  3. timz

    I think that it's appalling that Obama went to far as to make a highly publicized landing on an aircraft carrier with a huge sign proclaiming the death of Osama bin Laden and then it turns out that bin Laden's not even dead.

    Oh . . . that wasn't Obama on the aircraft carrier? And bin Laden actually IS dead?

    My bad.

    May 1, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  4. jane

    hahahahah Whine Repubs....Whine...I LOVE IT!!!!!

    May 1, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  5. frank mausser

    If we are going to hold people to what they said in the 2008 election then Oboma has lost all credibility.He has in no way done anything he said besides pushing a health care law behind closed doors in the middle of the night. Oh yeah we have to pass it before we can see whats in it,remember!

    May 1, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  6. Pat

    Anybody can make comments based on events in hindsight.

    May 1, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  7. varag

    Romney was not telling truth when he says any American would have taken the decision to raid the compound in Pakistan. It is well documented that very respectful military/intelligence/dept of defence/state leaders have expressed their doubts and advised Obama not to raid for multiple reasons. So, Romney to say now that any one would have taken the bold decision is like insulting all those very honorable and distinguished service men and women.
    Everyone knew if the mission failed, President would be blamed and he would have not even contested elections. In this extremely difficult scenario, President did not put himself first, he had confidence in our intelligence team, our courageous seals and ordered the raid. If there is any decision anyone has to be proud of, then this ranks very high.

    May 1, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  8. macrasta

    "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."

    oh please .. if Bush had ordered the killing of OBL ...the GOP would be demanding a parade for Bush, a national holiday in Bushes name, and "Mission Accomplish" themes everywhere..

    May 1, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  9. Willis

    So let me get this straight, dow closes at 4 year high, the 1 year celebration of bin laden with a whole in his head, the start of CLOSURE in Afghanisstan, troops gone from Iraq, another month of jobs growth in America, yea 26 straight, gas prices going down every day, womans equal pay, Kadafi gone also, Syrian Idiot next, Gee Mitts EVERYTHING SUCKS & EVERYTHING BLOWS thing, Im just not feelin it. Russia is our biigest Foe, Man what a whackjob!!!

    May 1, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  10. michaelam

    I have my doubts, Bishop, that you would have made the same call. You would be way too busy bombing Iran or the "Soviets." In fact, Bishop, your "me too" shtick has become old and very annoying. Stop! You're making yourself appear even more foolish. And speaking of're traipsing around NYC with the dude most famous for a noun, a verb, and 911. Get real!

    I seriously hope President Obama kicks your cu lo in the debates and general election. You are so not ready to be the President of the US...even after campaigning for five years! Pathetic!

    May 1, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  11. DoNotWorry

    Awwww, Mittens can't admit that Obama took out Osama. Of course, Mittens did not "politicize" his role in the Olympics being saved by U.S. taxpayers.

    May 1, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  12. Jules

    I hope it gets a lot worse, too. If anyone believes that Mitt Romney would make any decision that would cuase him not to be reelected you haven't been paying attention. Of course he could say go and then the next day say stop.

    May 1, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  13. phearis

    And if it had been a GOP President that had got him, they would be "Politicizing" it too. They're just butt hurt that Obama did in 2½ years what Gee-Dub couldn't do in 8.

    May 1, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  14. Mortalc01l

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Romney is complaining about another Politician "politicizing" something?????? Is he utterly DENSE??? ALL Politicians politicize EVERYTHING... it's what they do !!! For Romney to expect anything else is either stupidity, or HE is politicizing the issue !

    Politicians; is there any lower form of life on this planet other than child molesters?

    May 1, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  15. Wake up people

    How hypocritical of you Mittens. You just happen to be riding by that particular engine company on the anniversary of OBL's death. You eat and pose for pictures in front of fire trucks but the POTUS that ordered the raid that ultimately killed OBL is playing politics?? Really Mittens? That is the pot calling the kettle black! What a hypocrite!!

    OBAMA 2012!

    May 1, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  16. K3Citizen

    "Obama can't politicize Bin Laden!", shouted Romney as he visited 9/11 rescuers. Hypocrite.

    May 1, 2012 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  17. Patrick from Minnesota

    And why shouldn't he? Osama is dead no thanks to Mitt.

    May 1, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  18. Iamnotfooled

    Being in New York with Rudy can be viewed as Political too.

    May 1, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  19. OBAMA2012

    Just to get this straight.......every time Mittens has to double talk for his FLIP FLOPS, his new answer will be that President Obama is "politicizing" something. I guess it not much of a stretch for Mittens when everything in your life is fiction.

    May 1, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  20. John V

    he's right. the man slaughtered thousands of Americans. Brave soldiers went in to take him out. Obama tries to use it as political capital as he sat in his comfy chair while the Seals went in risking their life. SPINELESS.

    May 1, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  21. Emerald Laughter

    The Republican Fear Machine used Osama Bin Laden for political gain for the entire duration of Bush's presidency after 9-11, and they never caught him. Obama took care of business and had Osama offed, now he can talk about his accomplishments all he wants. If Romney did anything worthwhile I'm sure he'd be talking about it, but Romney is too busy running from his record.

    May 1, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  22. aaron

    After the Repubs had no issue about Bush not being able to do bin Laden in, then droning on and on about we wouldn't be safe with bin Ladin on the loose and Obama being president. Romney needs to go back to what he does best....shutting down companies and laying off the workers.

    May 1, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  23. Donkey Party

    What a phony, lying fraud Willard Romney is. You'd have to be a complete imbecile or really hate America (or both) to vote for that clown.

    May 1, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  24. DumbasRocks [R]s

    What a whining cry baby. Go play with your Etch-a-Sketch Willard, and let the adults focus on the job at hand.

    Yes it is political. After [R] Bush presided over 9-11, and then let bin Laden escape after being cornered, and then got distracted in Iraq for personal and political motives.....THEN [D] Obama came in and finished the job with bin Laden.

    I'm sure the uber-DELUDED see that as advantage [R], but those with fully functioning human brains see the obvious: advantage [D]s, and for good reason.

    May 1, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  25. CBR

    Where does Romney get his ideas? The ad does show the President during the hours before the Seals were successful. This was a risk the government took and they succeeded. If this had failed the GOP would have been on the air, 24 hours a day criticizing the action. What was Mr. Romney doing in NY at Ground Zero today, Certainly he is garnering publicity by being their with Mr. Guiliani.
    Did Mr. Romney complain when President Bush boarded an aircraft carrier and declared "Mission Accomplished" and just about declared a victory. Perhaps Mr. Romney would explain how this, in any way, equals that event.

    May 1, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7