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. Bob

    Romney followers will never have to worry about him politicizing any of the great things he's done for his country.

    May 2, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  2. Romney is a Closet Gay

    Romney politicized himself a long time ago and he's never come back.

    May 2, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  3. Dino S.

    Yes how dare President Obama try to make any political gain from the death of OBL a year ago??!! Mitt Romney was of course not doing the same thing as he and Rudy "noun, verb, 9/11" G. spent the day delivering pizzas to NY Firefighters near Ground Zero. Of course George "mission accomplished" W. Bush would never have done the same thing as president.

    May 2, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  4. David Pollan

    Who are these GOP jokers kidding??? Who's politicizing what? Am I the only person who sees craven political hypocrisy so blatantly displayed as the ubiquitous self-promoter at public expense as Guiliani and /or Romney??? Wake up America!!! Btw, just what the he'll did Guiliani do to deserve any goodwill as a result of serving only as mayor of a city under siege??? Not one life was saved bc of this sel promoter...NOT ONE!!! Yet, he's made millions because he's cashed in on 9-11 and no one has the guts to call him out on it!! Perhaps that's why he and Romney are exhalted as paragons of republican virtue because they could make a buck on another's sorrows....

    May 2, 2012 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  5. JJinCVCA

    The Republicans politicize EVERYTHING to do with President Obama. They can sit there and invent 20 lies about the president, and they have the gall to think they can dictate how Mr. Obama is going to run his own re-election campaign.

    May 2, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  6. Burnsey

    Uh huh...and Romney is politicizing Obama's success in taking out bin Laden...and every other thing he can possibly politicize for his own political gain. Sort of like Jack the Ripper screaming " murder"...

    May 2, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  7. Jeff

    It is time to admitt and accept the republican party/"conservatives" no longer represent the best interest of this country.

    May 2, 2012 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  8. joesix

    Can anyone say "Vice President Giuliani"?

    May 2, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  9. JoJola

    Okay, if President Obama is politicizing his accomplishments then what do you call going to New York and walking hand in hand with Giuliani to pass out pizzas to the firemen at the station where the entire battalion was lost on 9/11? Romney is beyond hypocritical. His answer to everything is to throw money at it, even if the money comes in the form of pizzas and sandwiches. Romney’s problem is he has an entitlement complex. He is so use to being large and in charge and having everyone play by his rules to keep from being "fired". Sorry Mitt, but your money can not buy you a likable personality or trustworthiness. The more Romney criticizes the president and then turn around and try to mirror him, makes Romney out to be a follower not a leader. The president sings. Romney tries unsuccessfully to sing. The president addresses large crowds. Romney rents a stadium to address a large crowd but hardly anyone shows but the media. The president goes to Afganistan to thank the troops and give them a possible timeline of ending the war. Romney goes to New York to hand out pizzas. Mitt has made it quite clear as to why even his own party can not get excited about him. If he wants to throw money at something, he need to buy a clue because no one is buying what he is now selling!

    May 2, 2012 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  10. Sydnium S. Washington

    Shame on you, Obama.

    May 2, 2012 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  11. bam

    mittens would have invaded IRAN like bush invaded Iraq....
    Obama issued the KOS OBL order and flush his body down the toilet... K Ill on SIGHT osama bin laden... bush issued a bring him to justice ah nah invade iraq....

    May 2, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  12. Mike H.

    If anyone should know how to politicize elements of terrorism for personal gain, it's our Republicans. W rode it to death in 2004, and by 2008 most Americans had tired of it and it was an ineffective campaign tactic for McCain. Mentioning the anniversary of the death of OBL is hardly "politicizing" anything. Mitt Romney is reaching.

    May 2, 2012 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  13. Bruce

    This coming from the Party who had the big banner "Mission Accomplished". How many years ago was that? Bush, Cheney and company spent years worrying about where Bin Laden was and now you snivel about Obama because it was actuallly accomplished on his watch. Talk about sour grapes.

    May 2, 2012 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  14. Joe citizen abroad

    On the contrary, it's Romney who is politicizing it. It's easy for Romney now to say he would've done the same thing. But in 2007, he said he wouldn't do it. Obama is simply stating the fact. And by the way, Mitt, Obama is the president. Not Joe Biden.

    May 2, 2012 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  15. Georgie

    Willard!!!!, .....STOP LYING!!!!!, ...Laughs!

    May 2, 2012 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  16. Yawn!

    This is rich, coming from the party of "9/11." Mitt is even standing next to Rudy "9/11" Giuliani when he was making these remarks. I bet both these guys whip their butts every morning with their very own American flag bath towel.

    May 2, 2012 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  17. enuff

    And standing in front of that particular fire house isn't politicizing at all...just like referring to 9/11 during Bush's re-election... Karl Rove is training you well.

    May 2, 2012 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  18. rueben castro

    I think that romney should literally stop hating on obama for him doing such a big change in the united states because the only reason people have so much to say not to be racial or nothing but the world is a white governed land and no one would want to see a minority make a change obama we love you and keep doing the work your where placed to do forget the (he say she say) my president is the greatest of all time

    May 2, 2012 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  19. Jonesey

    I would actually hope the president did flaunt it. It would still pale in comparison to the GOP self-stroking ego.

    May 2, 2012 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  20. Drake

    How dare Obama take credit for the death of an old man who was just minding his own business.

    May 2, 2012 03:41 am at 3:41 am |
  21. J.V.Hodgson

    Mr Romney, with respect, you are demonstrating a level of unmitigated pride, indignance, and hurt at being asked a question.
    Yes the ad quoted you from the past (left a subsequent flip flop comment out); but grow up its the fire of politics and if you cannot stand the heat dont go near the fire.
    This ad needed no defense. and not trying to defend otr justify is more effective. We voters do know the whole story and we voters for a fleeting 1 day moment ( assuming we read the follow know what happened)/ the best answer was not to complain about Obama campaigning (my god its his right sir just like yours) but to refer to your latest comment and yes to answer the question i would have done the same thing.
    Getting intomthe campaign ing or not debate left you losing this debate... sorry.

    May 2, 2012 04:08 am at 4:08 am |
  22. Name. Bala Ali

    Obama a better candidate: eventhough he's makeing mistakes, his policies are still better than Romney's

    May 2, 2012 05:25 am at 5:25 am |
  23. OrangeW3dge

    Jealous, Mitt?

    May 2, 2012 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  24. W.G.

    The Republicans Comment on Mr. Obamas call to get Bin Laden . WAAAAAAH !! , WAAAAAAH ! Romney
    wouldn´t have done it , Bush refused to do it ! Mr. Obama has bragging rights ! I remember "W" Bush landing
    on an Aircraft Carrier saying " Mission Accomplished ! ! Which was Bull SH _t because it took Obama to get us
    out of Iraq . As a matter of fact I remember on 9/11 Bush ( Alfred E. Nueman) Actually Flew the Bin Laden Family
    out of N.Y. Because they were family friends of the Bush´s . A talking head on FOX news said I´d like to thank
    "W" Bush and cheney " ! For what supporting terrorism ?

    May 2, 2012 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  25. Name. marc

    Romney the flip flopper is at it again! Why is the media not calling out on these issues. George Bush ran on 9-11 but the president can't mentioned he killed bin ladin? Let's get real romney!

    May 2, 2012 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
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