ABC News’ Matt Stuart, Teddy Davis and Sunlen Miller Report: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney repeatedly invoked the name of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., Tuesday while talking about an audio tape released earlier this week by Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
"Just look at Osam . . . Barack Obama said just yesterday. Barack Obama calling on, on radicals, Jihadists of all different types to come together in Iraq," Romney said Tuesday during a speech in Greenwood, S.C.
More than once, Romney said "Barack Obama" when he meant Osama Bin Laden.
While Obama responded to Romney’s mispronuciation of his name with a smile, saying "that happens…I don’t pay too much attention to that," his presidential campaign denounced the "fear-mongering" it claims is "at the heart" of Romney’s campaign
"Apparently, Mitt Romney can switch names just as casually as he switches positions, but what’s wrongheaded is continuing a misguided war in Iraq that has left America less safe," Obama spokesman Bill Burton told ABC News. "It’s time to end the divisiveness and fear-mongering that is at the heart of Governor Romney’s campaign."
The Romney campaign maintains that the former Massachusetts governor simply mis-spoke in Greenwood, S.C.
"Governor Romney simply misspoke," Romney spokesman Kevin Madden told ABC News. "He was referring to the recently released audiotape of Osama bin Laden and misspoke when referencing his name. It was just a brief mix-up."
Later Tuesday, while speaking in Greenville, S.C., Romney correctly identified Bin Laden — not Obama — as the source of this week’s audio tape calling on Jihadists to unite.
Romney’s confusion of Bin Laden’s name with that of Obama’s took on a special sensitivity on Tuesday because back in July, Romney posed for a photo with a supporter who was holding a sign which read, "No to Obama, Osama and Chelsea’s Moma." The photo received widespread news attention and prompted a critical question from a New Hampshire town-hall audience member.
Romney is not the only politician to have confused Obama’s name with that of the terrorist leader who masterminded the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.
Shortly after Obama took office, Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., committed a similar error.
"Why don’t we just ask Osama bin — Osama Obama — Obama what — since he won by such a big amount," said Kennedy. "Seriously, Senator Obama is really unique and special."