The Obama brain trust evidently believes it's got a winning message here, so brace yourselves for six more months of smug, smirking implications that Mitt Romney would have nixed last May's military and intelligence triumph:
"I'd just recommend that everybody take a look at people's previous statements in terms of whether they thought it was appropriate to go into Pakistan and to take out bin Laden," Obama said, obviously taking a shot at Romney. "I assume that people meant what they said when they said it. And that's been at least my practice. I said that I would go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him--and I did. If there are others who have said one thing and now suggest they would do something else, then I'd go ahead and let them explain it."
Our president looks mighty pleased with himself here, doesn't he? Perhaps Romney can "go ahead and explain" the alleged contradiction by citing his own stance on this, which in no way suggests that he would have taken a pass on the Abbottabad operation. As we wrote last week, the full context of Romney's remarks painted a remarkably different picture than the misleading snippet employed in the nasty and small ad put out by the Obama campaign. Beyond that compelling contextual evidence, here's Romney addressing this very Bin-Laden-in-Pakistan hypothetical back in 2007 (skip ahead to 5:25):
It’s wrong for a person running for president of the United States to get on TV and say we’re going to go into your country unilaterally. Of course America always maintains our option to do whatever we think is in the best interest of America. But we don’t go out and say “ladies and gentleman of Germany, if ever there was a problem in your country [and] we didn’t think you were doing the right thing, we reserve the right to come in and get them out.” We don’t say those things, we keep our options quiet.
Translation: Obviously the United States of America can and will act in our national security interests, but we shouldn't needlessly inflame partner nations by loudly announcing what we might do in response to a set of possible future circumstances. He was essentially paraphrasing Teddy Roosevelt's "speak softly and carry a big stick" maxim that Joe Biden, um, awkwardly invoked last week. As Hot Air's Morgen Richmond notes, it may be a bit to painful to listen to Romney discuss Pakistan as a friendly ally in light of their scandalous harboring of bin Laden...but that is the delicate geopolitical tightrope American leadership has been walking for years. Click through to read contemporary quotes from Biden and Hillary Clinton eludicating this point. The Obama campaign is well within its rights to emphasize an undeniable highlight of this president's otherwise gloomy three-and-a-half year term in office. Wednesday's anniversary of the mission provides an obvious opening to do so. Fine. Hell, they could even try to argue that candidate Obama was uniquely prescient and clear-eyed about Pakistan's role in the world during the '08 campaign. But they shed any veneer of decency and good will when they explicitly speculate that Mitt Romney would have quashed the plan that Obama approved. There is no basis for that claim; it's appalling -- especially from a crew that furiously condemned bin Laden-related point scoring when they were the perceived target. Parting thought: Guess who said this?
“I think it’s one thing to celebrate the fact that they did such a great job (with television specials). All that is perfectly legitimate. But to turn it into a campaign ad is one of the most despicable things you can do.”