COLUMBUS, Ohio – The new video released today by President Obama’s reelection campaign that questions whether Mitt Romney would have ordered the hit on Osama bin Laden opens a pointed line of attack by the president against his Republican rival. Here’s a look at what Romney has said about the president and the president and bin Laden since last May.
Romney has wavered between “any president would have done that” to leaning away from politicizing the raid. Plus, at the end is a zinger from Romney supporter and former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton.
In August 2011 in Texas, Romney suggested that the killing of bin Laden should not be politicized:
“To win this fight for America’s future, we will have to rise above politics. When members of Seal Team Six boarded their helicopters, they did so not as Republicans or Democrats or independents, they did so as Americans. And the final image that Osama bin Laden took with him straight to Hell was not a party symbol – not a Republican elephant or a Democratic donkey – but an American flag on the shoulder of one straight-shooting U.S. Navy Seal.”
In December 2011 in an interview on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Romney gave Obama credit:
“We’re delighted that he gave the order to take out Osama bin Laden. Any president would have done that, but this one did, and that’s a good thing. I’m not going to say everything he’s done is wrong.”
In December 2011 in an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd, who asked him what he meant when he said any president would have done what Obama did:
“Well, I just mean that — and I went on to say but I give credit to this president for actually having made the decision. I don’t think it’s unusual on the part of this president to have finally taken out Osama bin Laden. After all, we had been looking for him for some time. Intelligence finally gave us a good indication of where he was. He gave the order. And I think — I do think prior presidents would have done the same thing had they been in the same position.”
In January 2012 in Hilton Head, S.C., Romney backer Ambassador John Bolton, standing next to the candidate at a campaign event, suggested that the President was taking credit for the Navy’s success:
“You know the irony is he’s campaigning on the basis that he’s a success as a foreign policy president. It’s just really amazing and you ask, What is it that made the success? And it’s because Navy SEAL Team 6 killed Osama Bin Laden. That’s his definition of success. As somebody pointed out, in 1969 when Americans landed on the moon, it’s like Richard Nixon taking for credit for that, because it happened to occur during his presidency. The fact of the matter is this president has been a failure across the board in foreign policy and it’s jeopardized the United States in critical ways.”