For Obama, killing Osama bin Laden has become a campaign tool.
“The killing of Osama bin Laden, first presented as a moment of national unity by President Barack Obama, has become something else: a political weapon,” by AP White House Correspondent Ben Feller. “Obama’s re-election campaign is portraying his risky decision to go after America’s top enemy as a defining difference with his Republican presidential opponent, suggesting Mitt Romney might not have had the guts to order a mission that put lives and perhaps a presidency at stake.”
Meanwhile, Obama’s opponents are pouncing at the trumpeting of the killing of Bin Laden.
Peter Baker and Michael D. Shear, with Scott Shane: “Obama has made a concerted, if to some indecorous, effort to trumpet the killing as perhaps the central accomplishment of his presidency. … No doubt, the raid on a house in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a year ago Tuesday is a more favorable story for the president politically than the latest report showing slowing economic growth. With the general election effectively under way, it is part of an effort by both sides to define Mr. Obama’s presidency.”
Senator John McCain released this statement on the issue … ‘He watches passively while the Assad regime in Syria, Iran’s closest ally, kills thousands of its own people in an unfair fight, and his response to this mass atrocity is to create an ‘Atrocities Prevention Board.’ With a record like that on national security, it is no wonder why President Obama is shamelessly turning the one decision he got right into a pathetic political act of self-congratulation.'”
Of course, the Mitt Romney campaign is in hysterics.
Ed Morrissey sees the ad as some sort of diversion:
What does that say about the Obama campaign’s efforts to scare voters over Mitt Romney’s supposed inability to kill Osama bin Laden? A lot more than they’d like, especially since Osama bin Laden is already dead. This campaign effort at its core uses an argument that’s already moot. The Obama campaign wants to scare voters, rather than make them think, and it’s not just on Osama bin Laden but also with their “war on women” rhetoric, Seamus the dog, Romney’s wealth, and so on. They want to talk about nearly everything except the economy and jobs, and even if they have to become a caricature of what they publicly decried in 2008, they’ll do it.
As Benjy Sarlin jokingly noted on Twitter, “there’s a subtle difference between fearmongering Bin Laden as a scary ghost, and you know, pointing out ya killed him.” There’s nothing illegitimate about campaigning on foreign policy successes, especially when it’s something as significant as the death of Osama bin Laden. And in a campaign where the Republican nominee accuses Obama of “apologizing for America”—I can see why the campaign would want to highlight the extent to which Obama has had an aggressive foreign policy presence, disagre or otherwise.
Jonathan Chait adds:
In 2004, Democrats were furious that Bush used the 9/11 attacks as a political asset. Now, Republicans are indignant that Obama is running on having killed Osama bin Laden. (Of course, the difference is that 9/11 was at best something Bush had no responsibility for and at worst a colossal blunder, while killing bin Laden is an actual accomplishment.)
Material from the Daily Dish was used in this post.