PORTSMOUTH, N.H. - Mitt Romney asserted that he would have gone after Osama bin Laden had he been president, remarking while shaking hands with supporters that "even Jimmy Carter would have given that order."
"Of course," said Romney, when asked by a reporter if he would have led the charge to find bin Laden, who was killed last year tomorrow under the authority of President Obama. "Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order," said Romney, evoking the name of former President Jimmy Carter.
Carter did authorize a daring special operations attempt to rescue American hostages held in Iran in 1979. But that mission - Operation Eagle Claw - had to be aborted and ended disastrously with eight American service members dead in an helicopter crash.
Romney's statement suggesting Obama's decision to okay the raid on bin Laden could have been made by any president comes just a few days after a video produced by President Obama's campaign and featuring an interview with former President Bill Clinton questioned whether Romney would have given the order to kill bin Laden last May. The video hinged on comments made by Romney during the 2008 election in which he suggested that it wasn't necessary to "move heaven and earth" to capture bin Laden.
The Romney campaign had dubbed the Obama campaign's video as a "sad" attempt to "use an event that unified our country to once again divide us, in order to try to distract voters."
Romney is set to mark the one-year anniversary of bin Laden's killing tomorrow in Manhattan with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.