The Obama and Romney campaigns traded jabs Sunday over the president’s new video ad questioning whether his Republican challenger would have ordered the raid that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden a year ago this week.
The ad, released Friday, features President Clinton praising the boldness of Obama’s decision. “He took the harder and the more honorable path and the one that produced, in my opinion, the best result,’’ Clinton says.
Onscreen text then poses the question, “Which path would Mitt Romney have taken?’’ As if to answer, the ad borrows the voice of CNN’s Wolf Blitzer reading a Romney quote about the hunt for bin Laden: “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person,’’ Romney said in 2007.
Romney adviser Ed Gillespie condemned the ad Sunday during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.’’
“This is one of the reasons President Obama has become one of the most divisive presidents in American history,’’ Gillespie said. “He took something that was a unifying event for all Americans, an event that Governor Romney congratulated him and the military and the intelligence analysts and our government for completing the mission, in terms of killing Osama bin Laden, and he’s managed to turn it into a divisive, partisan, political attack.’’
Obama adviser Robert Gibbs, also a guest on “Meet the Press,’’ said the ad is perfectly fair.
“Osama bin Laden no longer walks on this planet today because of that brave decision and the brave actions by the men and women in our military, and quite frankly, Mitt Romney said it was a foolish thing to do a few years ago,’’ Gibbs said. “There’s a difference in the roles they would play as commander in chief, and I think that’s fair game.’’
Republicans have criticized the ad not only for its treatment of Romney, but also for what they call the president’s hypocrisy.
“This is the same president who said, after bin Laden was dead, that we shouldn’t ‘spike the ball’ after the touchdown,’’ Arizona Senator John McCain, Obama’s opponent in the presidential election four years ago, said Friday. “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.’’
Gillespie, a former adviser to President George W. Bush, went further. He suggested Obama’s authorization of the raid was a no-brainer.
“I can’t envision, having served in the White House, any president having been told, ‘We have him, he’s here, should we go in?’ saying ‘No, we shouldn’t,’ ’’ Gillespie said.
John Brennan, the president’s chief counterterrorism adviser, tried to stay out of the political melee Sunday but emphasized in an interview on ABC’s “This Week’’ that Obama’s decision was “gutsy.’’
Ann Romney jab caused ‘wrong turn,’ Rosen says
Two weeks after she backed out of a television appearance, Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen returned to the air Sunday to address her assertion that Ann Romney is unqualified to speak for women’s economic concerns.
Rosen, a CNN analyst, said April 11 that Ann Romney has “never worked a day in her life’’ and mocked her husband, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, for taking her words as representative of typical American women.
Ann Romney was a stay-at-home mother who raised five children.
President Obama quickly condemned Rosen’s comments, but the Romney campaign - accused of waging a war on women - used them to turn the table on the president. Ann Romney later called the Rosen interview “an early birthday present.’’
Rosen was scheduled to appear on NBC’s “Meet the Press’’ on April 15 but withdrew after being scrutinized that week. On Sunday, she was a guest on the program, and she ducked host David Gregory’s question about whether she believed Ann Romney could talk knowledgeably about the economic issues facing American women.
“I’ll leave that to Mitt Romney to decide who he talks to,’’ Rosen said. “I’m not going to go there.’’
Rosen noted that she apologized to Ann Romney.
“I don’t believe her life is the life that voters should judge,’’ Rosen said. “This debate took a wrong turn, and I’m sorry if I was the cause of that. This debate is not about the choices that moms make.’’
She added: “The economic issues that Mitt Romney has to face and how it affects women are absolutely fair game in this debate. That’s where I intended to keep going, and I think that’s really where American people want it to keep going.’’