“A year after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, President Barack Obama’s team is launching another precision operation: a full-scale public relations offensive aimed at using the bin Laden mission to boost the president’s reelection bid…
“‘It was the defining moment of the first term. To think people aren’t going to talk about it, Republicans are really naive,’ said Chris Lehane, a former spokesman for Vice President Al Gore and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). ‘It’s going to be very difficult for the Republican Party, [whose] entire campaign in 2004 was predicated on issues like this, complaining somehow about all of this. … Any number of presidents, Democrat and Republican, did not succeed in getting bin Laden, and there’s one who did.’…
“‘There really is a double standard. … President Bush could barely use the number 9/11 in a sentence without somebody accusing him of politicizing 9/11,’ Fleischer said, adding that he thinks it is ‘perfectly appropriate for both presidents’ to discuss such events in their campaigns.
“President Barack Obama, taking an election-year victory lap of sorts one year after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, did an unprecedented television interview in the White House’s strategic nerve center, the Situation Room.
“NBC’s sit-down with Obama will air on May 2, one year after Navy SEALs dropped into the al-Qaida chief’s compound in the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad and killed him. The network said it had also interviewed Obama’s top national security and foreign policy aides, including: Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then-Joints Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough and John Brennan, Obama’s homeland security and counterterrorism adviser.”
“U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) released the following statement on President Obama’s decision to play politics with the one year anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death:
“Shame on Barack Obama for diminishing the memory of September 11th and the killing of Osama bin Laden by turning it into a cheap political attack ad. This is the same President who once criticized Hillary Clinton for invoking bin Laden ‘to score political points.’
“This is the same President who said, after bin Laden was dead, that we shouldn’t ‘spike the ball’ after the touchdown. And now Barack Obama is not only trying to score political points by invoking Osama bin Laden, he is doing a shameless end-zone dance to help himself get reelected.
“No one disputes that the President deserves credit for ordering the raid, but to politicize it in this way is the height of hypocrisy.”
“Hours before McCain, a spokeswoman for Romney’s campaign likewise criticized the video.
“‘The killing of Osama bin Laden was a momentous day for all Americans and the world, and Governor Romney congratulated the military, our intelligence agencies, and the president. It’s now sad to see the Obama campaign seek to use an event that unified our country to once again divide us, in order to try to distract voters’ attention from the failures of his administration,’ press secretary Andrea Saul said.”
“But in 2008 Obama likewise thought killing the 9/11 mastermind wasn’t the central goal, saying the top priority should be capturing the leader alive.
“‘What would be important would be for us to do it in a way that allows the entire world to understand the murderous acts that he’s engaged in and not to make him into a martyr, and to assure that the United States government is abiding by basic conventions that would strengthen our hand in the broader battle against terrorism,’ Obama said as he unveiled his new national security team in June 2008.”
“Vice President Joe Biden traveled to New York University to give a speech lauding the decision to kill bin Laden, at the same time accusing Romney of shying away from the hunt. Biden quoted a 2007 Associated Press interview in which Romney said, ‘It’s not worth moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person,’ and suggested that Romney essentially gave up on the bin Laden hunt while Barack Obama courageously stayed the course…
“So just what did Romney say in that interview? Yes, he did say ‘moving heaven and earth,’ but he also discussed at some length a greater war on terror that targeted not only al Qaeda but other terrorist groups as well…
“GOVERNOR ROMNEY: I think, I wouldn’t want to over-concentrate on Bin Laden. He’s one of many, many people who are involved in this global Jihadist effort. He’s by no means the only leader. It’s a very diverse group – Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood and of course different names throughout the world. It’s not worth moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person. It is worth fashioning and executing an effective strategy to defeat global, violent Jihad and I have a plan for doing that.”
“Earlier this week, an Obama-appointed federal judge ruled in favor of the government in a national security case (needless to say), when he denied a FOIA request to obtain all photos and videos taken during and after the raid in Pakistan that resulted in Osama bin Laden’s death. The DOJ responded to the lawsuit by arguing (needless to say) that the requested materials ‘are classified and are being withheld from the public to avoid inciting violence against Americans overseas and compromising secret systems and techniques used by the CIA and the military.’ Among other things, disclosure of these materials would have helped resolve the seriously conflicting statements made by White House officials about what happened during the raid and what its actual goals and operating rules were.
“But while the Obama administration has insisted to the court that all such materials are classified and cannot be disclosed without compromising crucial National Security secrets, the President’s aides have been continuously leaking information about the raid in order to create politically beneficial pictures of what happened.”
“President Obama is shamelessly turning the one decision he got right into a pathetic political act of self-congratulation,’ McCain boldly declared, despite backing the President on the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, defending the President’s involvement in Libya from Republicans, and applauding the President’s decision to block the release of photos documenting abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Candidate McCain also used the idea that he would make the decision to order the killing of Osama bin Laden while a putative President Obama would not on the campaign trail in 2008.
“Expect more to come of the Romney campaign trying to paint President Obama’s foreign policy as “weak” while agreeing in principle with everything the President’s done and pushing for more of the same.”
“If showing OBL-as-a-corpse photos would incite the Islamists, why wouldn’t reelection campaign ads incite them, too?”