After slamming both President Obama and President Carter yesterday (“even Jimmy Carter” would have given the order to kill Osama bin Laden) Mittens said this on CBS today:
I’m confident that, of course I would have taken exactly the same decision. And the idea to try and politicize this and to say, “Oh, President Obama would have done it one way and Mitt Romney would have done it another.” It’s really disappointing. Let’s not make the capture or killing of Osama bin Laden a politically divisive event. There are plenty of differences between President Obama and myself, but let’s not make up ones, based on, well, “He might not have done this…”
That is obviously the line that Republicans want to push. It is “politically divisive” for President Obama to remind folks that he pulled the decision trigger that ended in a dead bin Laden and that Romney might not have.
Republicans want Democrats to just shut up about the whole thing and move on.
But that would be political malfeasance. It is more than reasonable to suggest that Romney’s expressed philosophy in 2007—about whether it was appropriate to go into Pakistan, with or without its permission, to hunt down bin Laden—would have prevented him from making the decision that Obama made one year ago.
Remember that Obama had campaigned openly in 2007-2008 saying that he would not be afraid to act against terrorists, even if it meant going into Pakistan to do it:
We need more troops, more helicopters, more satellites, more Predator drones in the Afghan border region. And we must make it clear that if Pakistan cannot or will not act, we will take out high-level terrorist targets like bin Laden if we have them in our sights.
Romney pointedly disagreed, saying:
I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours… I don’t think those kinds of comments help in this effort to draw more friends to our effort.
I think his comments were ill-timed and ill-considered.
Those and other comments from the 2007 Etch-A-Romney make what the 2012 Etch-A-Romney said this morning sound a little hollow, don’t you think? I mean, when he said, “Of course I would have taken exactly the same decision,” one can at least reasonably object to the “of course,” right?
But nope. Obama is not supposed to say a word about it. He isn’t supposed to mention that he got it right in 2007 and Romney got it wrong. He isn’t suppose to claim that what a presidential candidate says matters, in terms of how he will govern.
Even Arianna Huffington, a lefty who is no fan of Barack Obama as far as I can tell, got in on the act. In a stupefying attack, she also told CBS:
HUFFINGTON: I agree completely — I agree with the Romney campaign. I think that using the Osama bin Laden assassination killing, the great news that we had a year ago, in order to say basically that Obama did it and Romney might not have done it, which is the message. … I don’t think there should be an ad about that. … [T]o turn it into a campaign ad is one of the most despicable things you can do. It’s the same thing that Hillary Clinton did with the 3 a.m. call. You know, you are not ready to be commander-in-chief. […]
HOST: In a campaign aren’t you supposed to tout the accomplishments of what you’ve done?
HUFFINGTON: But this is not just what this ad did, does. What the ad does is questions, if we’re talking about the same ad. … It quotes a snippet from Romney in ’07 and uses that to imply that Romney would not have been decisive. There’s no way to know whether Romney would have been as decisive. And to actually speculate that he wouldn’t be is to me not the way to run campaigns on either side.
Are you bleeping kidding me? “One of the most despicable things you can do“? Oh-my-God.
You mean candidates aren’t suppose to speculate about what their opponents might do based on what they said? You mean no matter what a candidate says his opponent is not supposed to draw any conclusions from it? Well, is it okay for voters to speculate about what a candidate might do based on what he said? Is it okay for voters to draw conclusions from what is said on the campaign trail? Huh?
What has Arianna been ingesting?
There is something about Barack Obama that drives people—apparently people on both sides of the ideological divide—to turn the world upside down in an attempt to smear him.
It is really amazing.