Osama Bin Laden Death Anniversary Fuels Partisan Feuding

 
on April 30 2012 11:39 AM

As the Obama administration uses the approaching one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death to tout the president's decision to launch a strike on the former Al Qaeda leader, Republicans have accused the administration of exploiting the issue.

A team of Navy SEALs swooped into bin Laden's compound in Pakistan on May 2, 2011. The president authorized the operation after intense deliberations among his top advisers did not produce a clear consensus on whether a strike would be effective. The administration has since upheld that moment as a sign of Obama's resolve and firm leadership.

Suppose the Navy Seals had gone in there and it hadn't been bin Laden. Suppose they had been captured or killed. The downside would have been horrible for him, former president Bill Clinton says in a video produced by the Obama campaign. He took the harder and more honorable path and the one that produced, in my opinion, the best result.

The video, entitled One Chance, then questions what presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney would have done before displaying Romney's contention, made during the 2007 election, that it's not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person in reference to bin Laden.

Romney added soon after that we'll move everything to get bin Laden, but the sound byte has given ammunition to Romney's opponents. Senior campaign adviser Ed Gillespie said during a Sunday appearance on NBC's Meet the Press that the tactic was disingenuous.

This is one of the reasons President Obama has become one of the most divisive presidents in American history, Gillespie said. He's managed to turn it into a divisive, partisan political attack. 

The Obama administration has signaled that it will use the killing of Bin Laden, a goal that eluded President George W. Bush, during the re-election campaign to underscore the president's achievements.

If you are looking for a bumper sticker to sum up how President Obama has handled what we inherited, it's pretty simple: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive, vice president Joe Biden said during a recent speech.

Romney has depicted Obama as hesitant and inconsistent when it comes to foreign policy, calling the president feckless and suggesting that he has been insufficiently tough on Iran, ignored his generals on withdrawing from Afghanistan, and apologized for America's actions abroad. He has also seized on Obama's reassuring the Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that he would have more flexibility after the election as a sign that the president is not trustworthy. 

Would post-election 'flexibility' lead him to reach out once again to the Iranian regime 'without preconditions'? Romney wrote in an op-ed soon after. Would it lead him to resume pressuring Israel into making unilateral concessions to the Palestinians? Would it permit him to take an even softer line, if that is imaginable, toward the authoritarian regimes of the Castro brothers and Hugo Chávez? 

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