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Posted at 12:54 PM ET, 05/05/2011

Jousting over credit for getting Osama

The pollsters are predicting the 9-point “Osama Bounce” for President Obama will fade in a few weeks. So maybe the annoying partisan debate about who gets credit for killing the terrorist will also go away.

Republicans, quick to claim that torture works — though of course this country doesn’t torture, but if it did, that would have been the key to getting clues to Osama’s hideout — said Obama just followed the map President Bush II handed him. Democrats countered by reviving the failure to get Osama on Tora Bora.

Some folks tried to give President Clinton credit as well, since he launched that missile attack against bin Laden in 1998 and the early CIA operation tracking bin Laden. Others note that John F. Kennedy, in 1962, set up the SEAL teams that carried out the operation. And FDR set up the precursor to the CIA.

We’re pretty sure President Millard Fillmore had a hand in all this too, but still checking that out.

Former Bush national security adviser and secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, coming off a fine performance last week on the hit show “30 Rock,” where she played Alec

Baldwin’s ex-girlfriend, had an interesting take on the matter.

She was interviewed Tuesday on TV’s most entertaining — though maybe unintentionally so — morning talk show, Fox and Friends.

Host Brian Kilmeade, the dark- haired guy, veering way off- message, said Obama “did a great job on his speech Sunday night — talked about coming together like we did on 9/11, he wants to see it happen again. Do you think a nice gesture would be to invite President Bush out on Thursday when he comes down to Ground Zero to greet the families?”

(Obama did invite Bush to join him but he declined to participate. A Bush spokesman said the former president “appreciated the invite but has chosen in his post-presidency to remain largely out of the spotlight.” The Daily News reported that Bush didn’t go in part because he felt “his team is getting short shrift” in terms of credit from Obama.)

Rice deflected Kilmeade’s question and then said: “But President Bush had at Ground Zero probably the most important moment maybe in American history. It was when this wounded nation watched their commander-in-chief stand on that rubble and say that they will hear us, we are going to avenge this.”

Bush, Rice said, set up the operation that, over the years, captured or killed many terrorist “field generals” and “is improving now the prospects for an Afghanistan that might actually be stable.”

“And so,” she said, “slowly but surely, this is all coming into place and President Bush began that with that call to the nation — that clarion call to the nation at Ground Zero.”

The “most important moment maybe in American history?” It was a dramatic and moving call to action, pretty much perfect, but a more “important moment” than, say, Washington crossing the Delaware? Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox? Lincoln’s assassination? Pearl Harbor? D-Day? Reagan’s “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”? Bush I’s “Read my lips, no new taxes”? “Ask not what your country can do for you”? The pilgrims’ landing at Plymouth Rock?

Seriously.

By  |  12:54 PM ET, 05/05/2011

 
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