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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / Campaign 2012

Campaigns Spar Over Controversial Obama Ad

photo of Alexandra  Jaffe
April 29, 2012

Mitt Romney's campaign fought back on Sunday against a recent ad from the Obama campaign highlighting the president's approval of the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, with top Romney adviser Ed Gillespie calling it "divisive."

The video, entitled “One Chance,” was released last week and opens with former President Bill Clinton talking about the risks Obama took in authorizing the raid. The video then cuts to a question: “Which path would Mitt Romney have taken?

"He's managed to turn it into a divisive partisan political attack," Gillespie said on NBC's Meet the Press. "I think most Americans will see it as the sign of a desperate campaign."

His words echo those of Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul, who said in a statement recently that the ad was "desperate."

Gillespie insisted that the question was moot, as he said he "can't imagine" any president not making the decision Obama did, to approve the raid on bin Laden's compound. But Romney's critics have previously raised his comment on bin Laden's killing, during an April 2007 interview with the Associated Press, that "it's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person," as evidence that Romney would've made a different choice.

Obama adviser Robert Gibbs, on Meet the Press immediately after Gillespie, said as much.

"I don't think its clear that he would" have given the go-ahead for the raid that killed bin Laden, Gibbs said.

The ad continues one of the Obama campaign's most consistent lines of attack against Romney -- that he's weak on foreign policy. But Republicans have attempted to turn the issue back around on Obama, with Arizona Sen. John McCain saying the ad was an incidence of Obama "shamelessly turning the one decision he got right into a pathetic political act of self-congratulation."

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