Guy Benson

Ugly desperation from Team Obama, and it's not even May yet.  Behold, The One's latest ad, congratulating himself over his signature "gutsy call," and....raising questions about his Republican adversary:
 


Like everything else the man says, Obama's admonition against "spiking the football" after bin Laden's execution came with an expiration date.  The administration has been dancing in the endzone every chance they get, engaging in tawdry and ahistorical point-scoring over the successful mission.  Occasionally and subtlely reminding the American public of this accomplishment and the president's risky decision is fair game in 2012, I think.  The country wanted that monster brought to justice, and the deed was finally done on Obama's watch.  Bravo, and U-S-A.  But to blatantly harp on this point in an election season is decidedly unseemly; to suggest that your political opponent wouldn't have made the exact same call borders on slander, especially if you dredge up an out-of-context quote to "prove" the point.  Ace reminds us exactly what Romney said at the time:
 

LIZ SIDOTI: "Why haven't we caught bin Laden in your opinion?"

GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY: "I think, I wouldn't want to over-concentrate on Bin Laden. He's one of many, many people who are involved in this global Jihadist effort. He's by no means the only leader. It's a very diverse group – Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood and of course different names throughout the world. It's not worth moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person. It is worth fashioning and executing an effective strategy to defeat global, violent Jihad and I have a plan for doing that."

SIDOTI: "But would the world be safer if bin laden were caught?"

GOVERNOR ROMNEY: "Yes, but by a small percentage increase – a very insignificant increase in safety by virtue of replacing bin Laden with someone else. Zarqawi – we celebrated the killing of Zarqawi, but he was quickly replaced. Global Jihad is not an effort that is being populated by a handful or even a football stadium full of people. It is – it involves millions of people and is going to require a far more comprehensive strategy than a targeted approach for bin laden or a few of his associates."


In other words, Romney was all for nailing OBL, but he also knew that the effectiveness of an entire war effort can't be graded on one narrow rubric.  That's common sense.  The Obama campaign is trying to turn the sentiment above into "Mitt didn't care about bin Laden and would've let him skate."  Appalling.  This suggestion comes awfully close to questioning Romney's love of country, a tactic the Left squealed about incessantly during the Bush years, even when no one was calling them unpatriotic.  Obama has demonstated he has no qualms about playing the patriotism game in the heat of an election cycle, and he's done so again here.  If Democrats really want to get down and dirty by politicizing a unifying American event, Republicans could point out that literally every strand of crucial intelligence that led to locating bin Laden was developed from a Bush-era policy that Obama once railed against (waterboarding, Gitmo, and the Iraq war).  Conservative groups could run ads pointing out that Obama would never have been presented with the chance to green-light the operation without President Bush's decisions, which the 43rd president made despite partisan carping from the likes of Barack Obama.  But Romney and the GOP won't climb down into that gutter, for better or worse.  Instead, they'll talk about another gutter -- the one in which our economy resides, a topic the Obama people are frantic to avoid.  If they're willing to stoop to this low already, what can we expect in October if the Republican ticket is close or ahead in the polls?  Accusations that Romney employed bin Laden at Bain Capital, whose dirty, unAmerican profits were used to fund 9/11?  That's a stretch, but it's going to be hideous.  I'll leave you with two ironies: (1) Is Bill Clinton really the best guy to be trotted out as an authority on the leadership required to eliminate Osama bin Laden? (2) Remember when the Obama campaign indignantly attacked Hillary Clinton for exploiting bin Laden to "score political points" in 2008?  These people are utterly shameless.


UPDATE - John McCain unloads:
 

"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. This is the same President who once criticized Hillary Clinton for invoking bin Laden 'to score political points.'  This is the same President who said, after bin Laden was dead, that we shouldn't 'spike the ball' after the touchdown. And now Barack Obama is not only trying to score political points by invoking Osama bin Laden, he is doing a shameless end-zone dance to help himself get reelected.  No one disputes that the President deserves credit for ordering the raid, but to politicize it in this way is the height of hypocrisy. The Obama campaign asks whether Mitt Romney would have made that decision. Of course they want to focus on this one tactical decision because the other decisions this President has made have harmed our national security.

He turned his back on the people of Iran when they rose up to end their tyrannical, terrorist-supporting, Holocaust-denying government, giving them no assistance as they were crushed in the streets. He has repeatedly thrown our ally Israel under the bus and jeopardized our shared security interests. He tried to bring Khaled Sheikh Muhammed, the mastermind of 9/11, and other Al-Qaeda terrorists into the middle of New York City to stand trial in a civilian court. He disregarded the advice of his military commanders and pulled all of our troops out of Iraq, and Al-Qaeda is making a comeback there as a result. He disregarded the advice of his military commanders again by telling our enemies that we are leaving Afghanistan and then putting our mission and our troops at risk by short-changing our commanders on the ground. He watches passively while the Assad regime in Syria, Iran's closest ally, kills thousands of its own people in an unfair fight, and his response to this mass atrocity is to create an 'Atrocities Prevention Board.' With a record like that on national security, it is no wonder why President Obama is shamelessly turning the one decision he got right into a pathetic political act of self-congratulation."


Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Senior Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography