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. Sue

    Whine....Whine....Whine.....Lies...Lies...Lies....that is all the republican party knows how to do.....
    If only they would put so much effort into governing and compromising to improve this country......if only...think of where we might be.....if only....

    May 1, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  2. Riiiiiight

    And what do you think you are doing by bringing pizzas to a New York fire station to mark the one year anniversary of Osama Bin Laden's death and then speaking out against the President?

    May 1, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  3. Pete

    You'd use if too if it helped you politically,your just sore because you killed only jobs and peoples dreams.Haven't you killed enough things yet,maybe your can start by killing your political career,try it,you'll get the hang of it,its routine for you....ENJOY....

    May 1, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  4. Cymbol

    Yes, politicizing a tragic event would be despicable...just ask Rudy. Yeah, the guy standing right next to you...Irony barely scratches the surfaced here.

    May 1, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  5. Jan930

    No you wouldn't have, Mitt. We seen what you said. Republicans are so jealous because President Obama done what he said he would do and got the job done.

    May 1, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  6. Docmartin

    Spike the ball all you want, Obama. That's the only good thing you've done.

    May 1, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  7. cosmicsnoop

    Give it up Mitt. I have barely heard the President, or the Dems for that matter, go on and on about taking out bin Laden. He did it, it got done. What's sick and criminal is that the Bush administration held this Boogey Man up to the American people for eight years saying we were all going to die and the world was going to end at any minute. They could have taken him out any time and didn't on purpose. They are evil beyond belief and I would never vote for people like that ever in my life. I will vote for adults, of which the President is one of the only ones around I see.

    May 1, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  8. Dennis

    The Repugs are just sore losers at a time when winning for them is all that matters. Maintaining the image of the White House has can hardly be defined as their strong suit. Their hypocrisy is stunning while the image of Bush boasting about "Mission Accomplished" is laughably or sadly etched in the psyche of Americans.

    May 1, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  9. scott

    you mean like when president bush was on the uss abraham lincoln and stood in front of the sign that said misson accomplished. u mean like president bush had a new york scene of destructionon 9/11 played at the 2004 rnc convention. u mean like when vp cheyney said a vote for sen kerry would be a vote for an al queda attack in 2004. please, president obama is president and if he want to highlight his accomplishments to help his reelection chances so be it....hey here is an idea gov romney, why dont u speak out against those mormons who refuse to practise monogamy and have 10wives. how about you speak out against those mormons who are christening jewish holocaust victims....

    May 1, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  10. Rick Former Marine

    It's ok to fly to an aircraft carrier and give a speech and thumbs up under a "Mission Accomplished" banner when nothing was accomplished, though. The GOP is beyond morally bankrupt...disgusting. Pick a fight you can win. The fact this was a huge win for Obama makes the GOP react like Pavlovian dogs...react, discredit, be outraged. Whatever. It was a great decision that worked out. History is like that.

    May 1, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  11. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    I understand that because the killing of Bin Laden is just about the only good thing that has happened on B.O.'s watch, it's only natural that he wants to milk the anniversary for everything he possibly can. But it really is disgusting how blatanly our so-called commander-in-cheif has tried to politicize this for his own selfish purposes. He knows if the voters are focuses on the economy this Fall, he is bound to lose. This Bin Laden anniversary thing is an obvious act of desperation. I can't help but wonder what those Navy Seals think of their so-called commander-in-cheif using their hard work, sacrifice, and achievement for his own political purposes. Of course they are too professional and humble to say anything, but I bet they are even more disgusted than the rest of us. This country is going to be so much better off when it rids itself of it's B.O. problem this November.

    May 1, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  12. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Just about every president has done this. Why should Obama be any different? Romney seems to think that he would have pulled it when he said something to the opposite during the 2008 primaries. Another case of Romney flip flopping? I can see that happening here.

    May 1, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  13. bilk7

    "...standing outside Engine Company 24, which lost 11 firefighters on September 11..." with Rudy Guliiani? Mitt Romney wouldn't be 'politicizing' 9/11 now, would he?

    May 1, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  14. alexi

    So mittens what would you rather Obama do? What is acceptable to you? Would flying into an aircraft carrier in pilots uniform and giving a victory speech with a banner behind you saying "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED"??? If Obama did that will that be acceptable to you??

    May 1, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  15. Jrl

    Obama is the biggest fraud ever to the military. Usually the troops love when the president makes a surprise visit. Not wen Thi phony shows up. After the bin laden debacle. Even the SEALs can't stand this guy

    May 1, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |

    There's another flip-flop for Romney.

    May 1, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  17. Tyler Durden

    "The President made a difficult and profound decision, it was correct... and I had promised in my campaign last time that I would make the opposite (wrong) decison.... and now the President is saying he is a better decision maker than I am!" WAAAAAAAAAAAAH THAT'S NOT FAIR!!!

    May 1, 2012 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  18. trjamea

    The only foreign experience he has is that went to Canada with Sarah Palin and saw Russia from the elevators he put in his house for his cars, and those cookies pittsburg

    May 1, 2012 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  19. DBA

    "While standing outside Engine Company 24, which lost 11 firefighters on September 11..."

    Geez, those GOPers can never stop politicizing a great American trauma, can they?

    I happen to think that President Obama has every right to talk about his record on foreign policy. You could bet real money ($10,000 Mitt?) that if a Republican President had given the order to get OBL–and the mission was successful–the GOP would be blaring it 24/7 on Fox "News", and Hannity would be wetting himself in excitement!

    May 1, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  20. rickfro

    When you say he's politicizing the event, you mean like delivering pizzas to a fire station in NY that lost fire fighters in the 9/11 attacks?

    May 1, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  21. leftwetcoast

    Ah, poor Mitt. He so political he is sorry that George Walker Bush, the patron saint of Tax Cuts for "Job Creators," high priest of THE MARKET, was in capable of actually protecting the US. Those grapes are sure sour.

    May 1, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  22. ChiTownArkie

    Mr.Romney. Your point?

    May 1, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  23. Say it ain't so

    Who deosn't use "osama bin laden" as a political chess piece in the game that has become politics. Since bin was supposedly killed in obama's administration I knew he would use it to score political points & cash in his chip when it came time to run for prez. Again.

    May 1, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  24. Ideas, Ideals, not ideologies

    Romney won't win this argument. The faster he stop talking aabout Bin Laden the more he'll help his own cause. Even those who dislike Obama are keeping quiet on this subject.

    May 1, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  25. Taylor Youmans

    I dont know how Mitt Romney would have ordered Bin Laden's death when he stated last election that it was a waste of billions of dollars, time, and resources to chase one man all over the middle east! If he was president we would have never found him anyways!

    May 2, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
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