Romney marks Osama bin Laden anniversary with Giuliani at N.Y. firehouse

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.


Names of three firefighters who were killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks are seen as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, foreground right, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani talk to reporters in front of Engine 24, Ladder 5 in New York on Tuesday. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

Romney said he believed it was “inappropriate” for Obama and his reelection campaign to use the anniversary to inject the bin Laden killing as a campaign issue.

 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.


Philip Rucker is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post, where he has reported since 2005.
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