Bin Laden death used as political weapon in Obama re-election campaign
The killing of Osama bin Laden, first presented as a moment of national unity by President Barack Obama, has now become political weapon.
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.
Obama, a Democrat, was praised by leaders from both parties for approving the risky May 2011 mission that killed bin Laden, but he has tread carefully with the issue in campaign events.
His re-election campaign embraced the issue fully on Friday. It put out a video that touted Obama’s leadership in approving the raid that killed the al Qaeda leader in Pakistan.
“The commander-in-chief gets one chance to make the right decision,” the video said, also quoting former President Bill Clinton praising Obama for ordering the raid on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan.
“Which path would Mitt Romney have taken?” it asks, before referring to news reports quoting the former Massachusetts governor saying it was “not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.”
Republicans have criticised the ad.
John McCain, Obama’s opponent in the 2008 election, called it cheap. “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,” he said in a statement.
“President Obama is shamelessly turning the one decision he got right into a pathetic political act of self-congratulation.”
The video was similar to one used against Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary campaign by rival Hillary Clinton questioning whether the then-inexperienced Obama was the right person to answer a “3 a.m. call.”