The group, called Special Operations for America, is led by Ryan Zinke, a Republican state senator in Montana who spent time in the Navy's elite SEAL Team 6 during his 23-year career in the armed services. But while SEAL Team 6 may be closely tied with Obama following the killing Osama Bin Laden under the president's command last year, Zinke claims he and other members of the special operations community believe the president has taken an inappropriate amount of credit for that action, in order to boost his re-election campaign.
The president has failed and he is jeopardizing the safety of our troops, their families and our National security for political gain, Zinke said in a statement. For those who have taken an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic, it is a call of duty to take back America from a Commander-in-Chief that is incapable of understanding the sacrifices that have been made for the values that have made America great.
Zinke alleges that Obama personally put the troops at risk by identifying SEAL Team 6 as the commando unit that carried out the bin Laden raid, and is riding on the coattails of America's military to politicize his role as commander-in-chief. The PAC's website also features a video clip of Obama after the bin Laden raid with the headline, Why does President Obama take so much credit for killing bin Laden?
It should be noted that Obama has, on several occasions, credited the Special Forces for their role in the raid. In fact, a transcript of the president's announcement of bin Laden's death on May 2, 2011 shows that while he said the decision to go ahead with the operation was his, he clearly praised the small team of Americans [who] carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. In another speech only a few days later on May 6, Obama once again praised the troops involved in the mission, saying these Americans deserve credit for one of the greatest intelligence military operations in our nation's history.
The Obama campaign has already dismissed some of the new PAC's allegations. In a statement, the campaign's national veterans vote director Rob Diamond said veterans and military families know President Obama has their backs.
The Obama administration has championed a variety of programs designed to aid veterans and military families, including expanded housing vouchers for homeless veterans and increased funding for the Veterans Administration. Meanwhile, Diamond said Romney has not discussed any real initiatives to help veterans, and attacked the former Massachusetts governor for his continued support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
While the military traditionally tends to support Republican candidates, campaign finance reports indicate the Obama campaign has received considerably more individual donations from people listed as employees of the Defense Department or one of the four military branches.
Special Operations for America is registered as a 527 group, meaning it can accept unlimited amounts of money from contributors. As of now, they're running relatively dry. While a spokesman told USA Today the group is in negotiations for a budget of up to $10 million, records indicate it currently only has about $60 in assets.