Obama Video Strikes Republican Nerves
Logan T. Carlson
lcarl555@uwsp.edu
On the eve of the anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden, President Obama’s re-election campaign released two campaign videos. The first, a seven-minute video outlining the president’s accomplishments, specifically the government takeover of General Motors and the killing of the man who has terrorized America for more than two decades. The second video, a minute and a half long, focused on the decision making process to kill bin Laden.
 
The main point behind the decision involving bin Laden was the fact Obama had ordered a special operations unit to covertly enter Pakistan an execute the raid, rather than fire a missile at the compound, which was the conventional wisdom within the military to take out high ranking al- Qaeda officials.
 
Former President Bill Clinton appeared in the video, explaining why it was such a massive decision to make, "Suppose the Navy SEALS had gone in there and it hadn’t been bin Laden. Suppose they had been captured or killed. The downside would have horrible for him."
 
The video then goes on to question whether Mitt Romney, President Obama’s opponent in the 2012 elections, would have made the same call that night, seeing that Romney had made statements during the 2008 race where it seems pretty clear he would not have. In 2007, Romney said he "wouldn’t want to over-concentrate on bin Laden," and that it "wasn’t worth moving heaven and earth" to find him.
 
The campaign knew full well that Republicans were going to come out against both videos, and knew that it would be a winning issue even when they did. I can only imagine the discussion involved in the production of both videos, but I would imagine it would have revolved around "Republicans can talk as much as they want about the president killing Osama bin Laden as they want," and "Oh, thanks for reminding people the president killed Osama bin Laden."
 
And of course Republicans stepped in it.
 
Romney said that "of course" he would have made the same decision the president made that day, specifically adding that "even Jimmy Carter would have given that order." Romney seems to have forgotten the fact President Carter ordered a similar covert operation, which ultimately ended with the deaths of eight U.S. service members, to rescue the 52 hostages being held at the captured American embassy in Iran that had seriously damaged his administration.
 
Romney said "it was very disappointing for the president to make this a political item," and then appeared at an event commemorating the one-year anniversary in New York City with former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is often made fun of for mentioning 9/11 at every possible moment.
 
Senator John McCain, who lost to President Obama in 2008, said "shame on Barack Obama for diminishing the memory of September 11th and the killing of Osama bin Laden by turning it into a cheap political attack ad."
 
During the 2008 Republican National Convention, where Senator McCain accepted the nomination for President of the United States, a 9/11 tribute video was aired to great applause. Was this politicization of 9/11 not out of bounds then?
 
Senator McCain said he knew how to capture bin Laden during the 2008 elections, saying " "Look, I know the area, I’ve been there, I know wars, I know how to win wars, and I know how to improve our capabilities so that we will capture Osama bin Laden -- or put it this way, bring him to justice... We will do it, I know how to do it." Where was McCain’s outrage in 2008?
 
In 2004, Dick Cheney appeared at a campaign event, and flat out said if John Kerry was elected president, America would be attacked again. "It’s absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we’ll get hit again and we’ll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States."
 
President Obama isn’t politicizing the victims of 9/11, like the Republican Party has done for the past decade, he’s pointing to the fact his administration successfully brought America’s most hated individual to justice, but hey, keep talking about how President Obama ordered the killing of bin Laden all you want Republicans.