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Obama and Romney Spar Over Bin Laden Hit

Is US president Barack Obama trying to prove he is a 'better John Wayne' than rival Mitt Romney; do Americans care with a weak economy?
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 5/1/2012, 8:09 PM

Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney
Reuters

Rep. Mike Turner on Tuesday charged that President Barack Obama was trying to be “a better John Wayne” than Mitt Romney.

“The important aspect here is discussing what we’re going to do in the future, not the president claiming that somehow he’s a better John Wayne than Mitt Romney is. It’s deplorable to politicize this,” the Ohio Republican told MSNBC.

Turner's criticism came as Obama released a campaign video that questions whether his Republican opponent would have approved the raid that killed Osama bin Laden a year ago.

“The president is politicizing this,” Turner added. “Not only is he just taking a victory lap, he did a specific attack on his opponent saying … he wouldn’t have perhaps ordered the killing of Osama bin Laden.”

Obama has made reference to Romney's criticism of comments Obama made during the 2008 election in which the now-President said he would order an operation against Bin Laden even if it were to take place inside an allied country without their knowledge.

During the last race, Romney did not say he would not order such a raid, but did level sharp criticism for the confrontational tone of Obama's rhetoric saying it was "unhelpful" on a diplomatic level.

Senior Romney advisor Ed Gillespie, a former aide to President George W. Bush and former chairman of the Republican National Committee, said using the raid for political purposes is one of the reasons Obama has "become one of the most divisive presidents in American history."

"He took something that was a unifying event for all Americans, and he's managed to turn it into a divisive, partisan political attack," Gillespie said in a separate interview on the same NBC program. "I think most Americans will see it as a sign of a desperate campaign."

For his part, Romney quipped to reporters that "Even Jimmy Carter" would have authorized the Bin Laden hit in Abbottobad, Pakistan.

He went farther on “CBS This Morning” on Tuesday, saying that Obama was politicizing bin Laden’s death to shift attention from other issues.

“I think what you’ve seen so far with the president, and I won’t repeat all of the attacks, but you begin with this, Romney wouldn’t have gone after Osama bin Laden,” Romney said.

“These silly kinds of attacks, it’s like, what has that got to do with getting our economy going?" Romney asked, seeking to shift the campaign back to the domestic economy. "Of course I would have taken out Osama bin Laden. But what’s the right course for our economy?”

Obama defended his emphasis on the anniversary – despite his own nominal role in the hunt for and targeted killing of Bin Laden.

“I hardly think that you’ve seen any excessive celebration taking place here,” Obama said on Monday.

“I think that the American people, rightly, remember what we as a country accomplished in bringing to justice somebody who killed over 3,000 citizens.”

However, the GOP is not alone in charging Obama is over-playing the 'I Killed Osama' card.

In an uncharacteristic move, New York Times reporters Peter Baker and Michael Shear on Friday, wrote “few presidents have talked about the killing of an individual enemy in such an expansive way."

Baker and Shear added that, Obama has taken the "unusual route of bragging about how he killed a man."

Meanwhile, it was revealed Obama left all decisions about the covert operation that found and killed the United States' most wanted terrorist in the hands of US Navy Admiral Wm. McRaven.