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 na├»ve 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. DubyaH Not The shrub

    Perhaps if mittens hadn't thrown the rock of falsely portraying Pres Obama as soft on national security he wouldnt have had to learn that the rock was actually a boomerang carrying his own 2007 video and ultimately smacking him in his head. Note to mittens, in this information age etch a sketch politics just won't work.

    May 1, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    This is laughable! Robmey is standing with an engine company that lost 11 members on 9/11 and accuses the PRESIDENT of politicizing events?!? Puh-leez!

    Besides, we all know that this whole reaction from the right is because they're jealous of President Obama's foreign (and economic and military) policy successes. They wish they had some to mention – BUT THEY DON'T BECAUSE ALL THE GOP POLICIES ARE PROVEN FAILURES.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    May 1, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  3. connieb

    Today you "would have made the same decision the president made." What about tomorrow?

    May 1, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  4. Kevin

    Obama should politicize the killing of bin Laden–he accomplished what the Bush administration gave up on. He's a great president for giving the go-ahead to finish the mission.

    May 1, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  5. American

    Romney flip-flops with indecisive weakness & now reveals his hypocrisy, as Mitt is politicizing the issue by attacking a former president & standing next to a noun-verb-9/11 Giuliani. Shame.

    May 1, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  6. Roger Long

    The Fact is that President Obama did a fine job when he authorized the raid that killed Bin Laden. He deserves the cedit ! Bush ran his mouth and accomplished very little. Obama has actually prosecuted the war against terrorism far better than the Republicans did.
    I personally do not believe that Romney would have the guts to make that call ! I am completely unimpressed with a man that claims success but was handed his life on a silver platter !

    May 1, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  7. nanocode

    Romney agrees with the Presidents decision 100% (he says even he would have done the same). Yet he would deny the President any credit for his courageous action. To be honest, I wonder if Romney secretly wishes that the seal team failed in its mission.

    May 1, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  8. Roger Long

    Romney stated his position in 2007 when he questioned Obama's judgement for stating that if President he would be willing to hunt Bin Laden down even if it meant going into Pakistan ! That says it all ! Romney simply would not have made the right call ! He said himself he would not go into Pakistan !

    May 1, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  9. RomyMon

    Bill Clinton started it. Did he have a serious lapse of memory? He had a chance of getting rid of Osama bin Laden, but refused to give the order! It was his refusal to act as an American C-in-C that later caused 9/11 and made that abominable animal bin Laden a hero in the jaundiced minds of his fellow jihadists! Shame on you, Bill. Mitt was right when he said that even Jimmy Carter would have given the nod to take out Osama. Yes, Jimmy Carter, but never Bill Clinton!

    May 1, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  10. gogoman

    "take him out"? then it shouldn't be hard to decide whether to go on SNL or not?

    May 1, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  11. truthman53

    Obama has stooped to a new low in politics. Bill Clinton too for his narrative.

    May 1, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  12. unretired05

    Romney said "I would never politicize an event like that.", as he paused for a photo op with firefighters at a fire station in New York celebrating the anniversary of the death of BinLaden

    May 1, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  13. Walter

    When even far left libby Arianna Huffington is squawking about Obama and Osama, you know Barack is on the decline.

    May 1, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  14. Michael Vacanti

    Politicizing an event that brought America together? Conservative pundits have been minimizing or denying Obama's role in the operation since day one.

    May 1, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  15. Larry L

    Romney hates to see his ridiculous statements repeated in print. That is the price a flip-flopper pays for trying to be all things to all people – having no true convictions.

    May 1, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  16. Little Tin God

    If I'm not mistaken, George W. Bush and many other Republicans politicized 9/11 continuously from 9/11/2001 right up until this instant.

    May 1, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  17. AllThatsLeft

    And why shouldn't he? Like the Republican's didn't politicize both wars and the capture and death of Saddam Huessin. "Mission Accomplished" remember that? Don't sit there and act like the Gop and Twit Romney wouldn't be politicizing it had the mission to kill Bin Laden failed. The Gop always throw a fit when someone does anything but demonize this administration because it goes against the sky is falling propaganda they have been trying to infect the masses with for the last 4 years so they could regain control. Obama 2012...

    May 1, 2012 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  18. tigerakabj

    Romney should get ready to get pummeled. By mid-July, his party will be talking about a "brokered convention" considering that it will be crystal clear that unless a major hail-mary pass is thrown, he will lose in a bigger landslide than did McCain in 2008.

    President Obama is up in Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and Ohio. Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado? President Obama is way up. He is also 7 points behind in Texas as well as South Carolina.

    The only reason Mitt BARELY survived the primary, against a historically weak field, was that he had more money. He is now going up against a pro. Boo-hooing about "politicizing OBL" when he criticized President Obama for his position (not to mention the GOP's politicization of 9/11) is not going to fly with the electorate.

    President Obama and the Navy Seals got OBL. It is what it is.

    Obama/Biden/E.Warren 2012

    May 1, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  19. Mr. Moderate

    So Mitt are you saying if the raid had failed, you would be silent about it to avoid politicizing it?

    May 1, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  20. David R

    Mittens' only foreign policy experience is deciding which countries to hide his daddy's money in and where to outsource US jobs.

    May 1, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  21. Zil Zerimar

    Oh Mitty Oh Mitty...there you go again. To you everything is POLITICAL. Why don't you just shut up!!!

    May 1, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |

    Why shdnt politicise it?.It took republicans 8 years looking for Bin Ladin.Obama used 2yrs to find and kill him with good intel.It is a plus for him.

    May 1, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  23. Squigman

    If only he'd had the good sense to be killed while the republicans were in office. Then all would be good with the world, and politicizing his death would be looked upon as good P.R..

    May 1, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  24. Vincent Carter

    Guess what? President Obama is touting his accomplishment. As a Train Operator i carry over 30,000 passengers a day. So what are you going to do Romney start Suing people for their accomplishment.

    May 1, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  25. Jim

    Dear Romney,
    I am not impressed.


    May 1, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
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