President Obama, 2011: I won't release the Bin Laden death photos because I don't want to "spike the football" on his death.
Candidate Obama, 2012: Do you know what change looks like, dear voters? Liquidating Osama Bin Laden, that's what:
And change is keeping one of the first promises I made in 2008 -- ending the war in Iraq and bringing our troops home. (Applause.) The war is over and our troops are home. And instead, we refocused our efforts on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. And thanks to our brave men and women in uniform, al Qaeda is weaker than it’s ever been, and Osama bin Laden will never again walk the face of this Earth. That’s what change is. (Applause.)
I have no interest in diminishing the accomplishment of erasing that cretin from our planet. The president ordered a risky raid to get the job done, and it paid off. We're all grateful to him, and especially to the brave SEALs who carried out the mission. It's also worth mentioning that President Bush's counter-terrorism policies played an inextricable role in gathering the necessary strands of intelligence to set the stage for the final act. Will Obama's bald political credit-mongering over a non-partisan moment of national unity backfire? We'll see, but I'm not sure how well it will be received by many non-sycophants.
One other note about the Obama campaign's tactics -- they're ramping up their criticism of Mitt Romney on gay rights issues, claiming that Romney will say anything to get elected:
It's election season again, and the only Mitt we really know is the one who will say whatever it takes to win. If he is the Republican nominee, we can expect him to suddenly try and be best friends with LGBT voters again. That's why we're sending him the message that it doesn't work like that -- and that we won't let him get away with it. Say you'll help hold Mitt accountable before he has a chance to pander yet again.
Romney certainly emphasized his commitment to gay rights -- even as he opposed same-sex marriage -- during his 2002 gubernatorial campaign, yet has played down the issue in his presidential bids. Part of that shifting dynamic is due to the supremacy of economic issues this time around, and part of it is pure pandering. He shouldn't get a free pass on that, but it's a bit odd to hear complaints about cynical political posturing on these issues from Team Obama. After all, their guy also claims to oppose same-sex marriage, having once favored it (mustn't upset African American and Latino voters, you see). On the other hand, he's also unilaterally abandoned legal defenses of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which was signed into law by a Democrat. All the while, Obama says his views on gay marriage are still, ahem, "evolving" (wink, wink, lefty LGBT groups). One gets the sense that the nanosecond Obama no longer needs to rely on certain pockets of religious voters to win an election, his personal evolution will be complete. Who's pandering, again?
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography