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White House: Bin Laden reference 'entirely appropriate' at Obama campaign event

May 11, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli | Washington Bureau
(Charles Dharapak /Associated…)

A White House spokesman defended as "entirely appropriate" President Obama's discussion of the death of Osama bin Laden at a fundraiser for his reelection campaign Tuesday night.

As Peter Nicholas reported Tuesday, Bin Laden's name came up twice at one of president's Austin, Texas, campaign events. Early in the event, someone shouted out, "Thank you for getting Bin Laden!" Obama said the mission against the terrorist leader was a "case in point" -- a reason for voters to let him "finish what we started."

Later, Obama ticked off what he described as his administration's accomplishments: lifting the ban on gays in the military and bringing troops home from Iraq.

And then: "And because of the extraordinary bravery of the men and women who wear this nation's uniform and the outstanding work of our intelligence agencies," Obama said, "Osama bin Laden will never again threaten the United States."

When asked about the president's remarks Wednesday at his daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney noted that Bin Laden's name was first invoked by the audience, though it appeared also to be in the president's prepared text.

"I can't predict to you what will be in the content of the president's speeches going forward, but I certainly think what he said last night was entirely appropriate," Carney said when asked if the Bin Laden mission would be a staple in Obama's campaign remarks.

"The president believes that good policy is good politics, but that's why he's here, that's why he wanted to be president, that's why he ran," Carney said, adding that Bin Laden's killing is part of Obama's record just as healthcare reform and the president's efforts to improve the economy are.

"His record is his record, and obviously he will be running on his record," Carney said.

Polling continues to show the president enjoying a bump in approval since Bin Laden's killing more than a week ago, though surveys vary as to the intensity. A new Associated Press/GfK poll Wednesday showed Obama's job-approval rating at 60%, up 7 points from their March poll. But a Reuters/Ipsos survey showed Obama's rating at 49%, up just 3 points from an April poll.

Gallup's latest three-day tracking poll shows the president with a 51% rating, off 1 point from his post-Bin-Laden-death high of 52%

michael.memoli@latimes.com

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