President Obama’s campaign has launched an interesting new line of attack on Mitt Romney — questioning whether the former Massachusetts governor would have killed Osama bin Laden.
The first anniversary of bin Laden’s death is coming up on May 2, and the Obama campaign has clearly decided to seize this moment to push back on Republican criticisms of his foreign policy.
In a Web video released Friday morning called “One Chance,” former president Bill Clinton praises the “decider-in-chief” for ordering the Navy SEAL raid on bin Laden’s compound.
The ad then asks, “Which path would Mitt Romney have taken?”
During the 2008 campaign, the video notes, Romney criticized Obama for promising to consider drone strikes in Pakistan and said of bin Laden, “it’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.”
And in a speech at New York University on Thursday, Vice President Biden said Obama’s term could be summed up on a bumper sticker: “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.” He added, “You have to ask yourself … if Governor Romney were president, would he have used the same slogan in reverse?”
NBC News will air an interview of Obama himself about bin Laden’s death on May 2, from the White House Situation Room.
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement that “it’s now sad to see the Obama campaign seek to use an event that unified our country to once again divide us, in order to try to distract voters’ attention from the failures of his administration.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Obama’s 2008 election rival, also criticized the campaign video. “Shame on Obama for diminishing the memory of September 11th and the killing of Osama bin Laden by turning it into a cheap political attack ad,” he said in a statement.
The bin Laden operation is one of the few administration actions that Romney has applauded. The Republican candidate often argues that Obama has “apologized for America” while abroad and is “leading from behind” in the world. While foreign policy isn’t likely to loom large in the November election, the anniversary of bin Laden’s death is a chance for the administration to turn the tables.
“I think the way that we’ve handled it represents exactly the balance we need to strike,” White House Spokesman Jay Carney said of the anniversary on Thursday.
In 2007, Obama’s campaign criticized then-senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for “invok[ing] bin Laden to score political points.” The Clinton ad in dispute featured bin Laden, along with Pearl Harbor, Fidel Castro, and other past or potential threats, with the words “Who do you think has what it takes?”