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Political Insiders Poll

How effectively has President Obama’s reelection campaign capitalized on the killing of Osama bin Laden?


Very effectively: 43%
Somewhat effectively: 42%
Not effectively: 15%


Very effectively

“People need to be reminded that under his leadership, Global Public Enemy No. 1 was taken out.”

“They have neutralized the weak-on-national-security issue that the Republicans have for years used effectively against the Democrats.”


“Sure, it helps the campaign, but it is important that America is reminded that we can still do things right and that the commitments made in previous administrations are carried through.”

“The president is playing his commander-in-chief card, which in this instance is an ace.”

“It’s good to see a Democrat not taking any crap from the GOP. Obama’s first punch staggered and wounded Romney.”

“When Republicans took the bait, God bless them, and began to debate whether Barack Obama really deserved any credit at all, it couldn’t have been any better for the president. It drew additional attention to a difficult and courageous decision…. Beautiful.”


“[Bin Laden’s] dead. ’Nuff said. Ask Bushie how that feels.”

Somewhat effectively

“He should do more bragging—it’s not in his nature to crow about killing someone, however.”

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“This is tricky. Everybody knows about it. Restating the obvious could easily backfire, as in, ‘Fine, what else have you done for me?’ The trick is to make sure the focus is on what this says about the president, as in focused, determined, disciplined, patient.”

“The Bush administration would have made the anniversary a national holiday. Democrats tend to understate successes.”

“Good he’s gone, but it’s over and won’t be an issue. So best to mention and move on.”

“The Republican amnesia is ironic, considering it was acceptable for [George W. Bush] to raise money off of 9/11 for his reelect.”

Not effectively

“It’s one thing to boast a bit about getting OBL ... but to say that your opponent might not have made the same decision? Aren’t there enough ways to attack Romney’s record to avoid attacking things that weren’t part of his record?”

“One word: overkill.”


How effectively has President Obama’s reelection campaign capitalized on the killing of Osama bin Laden?


Very effectively: 17%
Somewhat effectively: 45%
Not effectively: 38%

Very effectively

“The timing and choreography of the Afghanistan trip was absolutely brilliant.”

“Very effectively to date, but they are very close to jumping the shark. We get it. Enough already.”

“He did it. Bush had nine years and did not.”

Somewhat effectively

“It is his good news, but most Americans believe that any president would have taken him out once the intelligence community had done its job.”

“He gets the credit because he is the sitting president.”

“Every patriotic American cheered Obama’s decision to take out bin Laden, but this ‘dancing in the end zone’ with a political ad attacking Romney is so far over the top that it erases all but the most partisan goodwill.”

“The assassination anniversary was a plus for Obama, but its excessive exploitation bespoke a certain insecurity ... as in, ‘Is that all he has to talk about?’ ”

“They can’t be perceived as overly political and are slowly stepping over the line where they are going to make it too political.”

“People know it happened, but they place more credit where it belongs—the guys with the dog tags.”

“Killing OBL doesn’t make a gallon of gas under $4 or put food on the table. You can drag a corpse along only for so long.”

Not effectively

“It is ridiculous for the president to take credit for a decision any president rightfully would have made.”

“Ham-handed, unbecoming, and, ultimately an excess of hubris.”

“Bragging diminishes Obama’s signature achievement. He made the easy decision to go for OBL. Shame on him when American people know it was the skill of our military. Should not be a partisan political prop.”

“With all the ‘I,’ ‘I,’ they are close to turning the positive into a negative—emblem of a graceless president.”

“Only a White House this politically flat-footed could take a solemn but proud national moment and turn it into a garish political spectacle.”


Who will benefit more from the influence of outside-money groups during this election cycle, Republicans or Democrats?

This article appears in the May 5, 2012 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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