NEW YORK – Marking the one-year anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden at a New York firehouse that lost 11 first responders in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Tuesday reiterated that he would have given the same order as President Obama to kill bin Laden.
“Of course I would have ordered the taking out of Osama bin Laden,” Romney said at a news conference here, where he appeared with former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani. “This is a person who had done terrible harm to America and who represented a continuing threat to civilized people throughout the world. If I had been president of the United States, I would have made the same decision the president made, which
was to remove him.”
Reporters pressed Romney to square his comment that he would have made the same decision as Obama with the comments he made about bin Laden while a presidential candidate in 2007. Romney responded by invoking Vice President Biden, who as a candidate in the 2008 Democratic primaries said of then-rival Obama that he would be “naive” by announcing in advance that he would go into Pakistan.
“Many people believed, as I did, it was naive on the part of the president at that time the candidate to say he would go into Pakistan,” Romney told reporters here Tuesday. “It was a very, if you will, fragile and flammable time in Pakistan, and I thought it was a mistake of his as a candidate for the presidency of the United States to announce that he would go in. I’d rather just to say, as I did, we reserve the right to go where we feel appropriate to secure the interests of the United States of America and certainly track Osama bin Laden to anywhere that we found him.”
Romney’s spoke with reporters following a brief visit with firefighters at Engine 24 Ladder 5. He and Giuliani brought them pizzas from Joe’s in nearby Greenwich Village. Romney picked up the tab ($136, plus tip) with cash ($20 bills).
“This is a place of significance for the people of New York, but also for the people of our country, and I wanted to be here today and was happy to be with our mayor and express our appreciation to the men and women who serve in the firefighters and among first responders here in New York and to acknowledge the special place that this is,” Romney said.