President Obama's been taking a lot of flack -- even from Arianna Huffington! -- for his campaign's new Osama bin Laden anniversary ad, which offers up a Bill Clinton-narrated account of Obama's lonely decision to order SEAL Team 6 in a year ago, and then raises questions about whether Mitt Romney would have done the same.
A statement from two Romney advisors said they were "saddened" to see "the president of the United States politicize that event." Obama's 2008 opponent, John McCain, called it "a cheap political attack ad."
So it seems fair to point out that when it comes to politicizing 9/11 it's hard to beat Rudy Giuliani, who will be at Romney's side on the one-year anniversary of bin Laden's death. Giuliani and the presumptive GOP nominee plan to appear at a plainly political event Tuesday complete with New York firefighters as props. The former New York mayor was justly praised for his leadership on 9/11 and immediately afterwards. But over the ensuing ten years he and his campaign grew so brazen, in political ads and speeches, about referring to his performance that day that the satirical Onion once published an article saying that Giuliani planned "to run for president of 9/11."
Romney also dismissively said today that "of course" he would have ordered bin Laden's killing and then, with his usual ear for resonant rhetoric, volunteered that "even Jimmy Carter" would have done so. But it also seems fair to point out that back in 2008 both McCain and Romney criticized Obama's aggressive statements about pursuing al Qaeda into Pakistan, which the president himself alluded to today in remarks at a photo op. And that's where bin Laden was found: in Pakistan.
"I just recommend that everybody take a look at people's previous statements," Obama said.
For political reasons or not, plenty of people will now.
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