Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt… (Jae C. Hong / Associated…)
NEW YORK -- Mitt Romney on Tuesday marked Osama bin Laden’s death a year ago by alternately praising President Obama for ordering the targeted killing of the terrorist leader and slamming him for politicizing the moment.
“I think it’s totally appropriate for the president to express to the American people the view that he has that he had an important role in taking out Osama bin Laden. I think politicizing it and trying to draw a distinction between himself and myself was an inappropriate use of a very important event that brought Americans together, which was the elimination of Osama bin Laden,” Romney told reporters after bringing six pizzas to a fire station that lost 11 men in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
For several days, the president, his campaign and his surrogates have been questioning whether Romney would have made the same call to send in a Navy SEAL team to take out Bin Laden in a risky mission into Pakistan, based on comments he made during his unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign. Romney reiterated that he would have made the same decision.
“Of course I would have ordered the taking out of Osama bin Laden. Of course. This is a person who had done terrible harm to America and who represented a continuing threat to civilized people throughout the world,” Romney said. “If I had been president of the United States, I would have made the same decision the president made, which was to remove him. And actually I acknowledged a year ago when this was announced that the president deserved credit for the decision he made and I continue to believe that and certainly would have taken that action myself.”
Romney argued that in 2007 he was criticizing Obama for announcing that he would unilaterally send the military into another nation, not for his stance.
“We always reserved the right to go anywhere to get Osama bin Laden, I said that very clearly in the response that I made. Many people believed as I did it was naive on the part of the president, at that time the candidate, to say he would go into Pakistan. It was a very, if you will, fragile and flammable time in Pakistan and I thought it was a mistake of his as a candidate for the presidency of the United States to announce that he would go in,” Romney said. “I’d rather just to say as I did we reserve the right to go where we feel appropriate to secure the interests of the United States of America and certainly track Osama bin Laden to anywhere that we found him.”
Earlier in the day, Romney met with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. At the firehouse, Romney campaigned alongside former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who strived to strike a nuanced tone both complimenting and criticizing the president.
“People disagree with me, [but] he certainly has the right to take credit for it and I give him credit for it. I don’t think he should use it as a source of negative campaigning and I do think the negative part of it is totally inaccurate,” Giuliani said. “It’s quite clear that Mitt Romney and anyone else would have made the same decision that President Obama made. He gets credit for it because he would have gotten the blame as well.”
Original source: Romney marks anniversary of bin Laden's death with New York visit