Mitt Romney hasn’t appreciated the fact that President Obama’s campaign released a new video pointing out that Romney said in 2007 that he would not order military action similar to the one Obama ordered that ended up killing Osama bin Laden.
Romney now says that “of course” he would have done what Obama did. “Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order,” he said yesterday. And this morning during an interview with Charlie Rose on CBS, Romney reiterated that sentiment. “Of course I would have,” he said, “any thinking American would have ordered exactly the same thing.”
Apparently some of Obama’s top advisers don’t fit into the “thinking American” category. Vice President Joe Biden said in January that he advised the president against the raid. “Mr. President, my suggestion is, don’t go. We have to do two more things to see if he’s there,’” Biden recalled. Biden added that “every single person in the room” expressed reservations about going forward with the raid, “except Leon Panetta.”
Obama’s top counterterror adviser John Brennen, in an interview to be aired this Sunday, confirmed Biden’s account. “It was a divided room as far as, you know, some of the principal sentiments on this issue were concerned,” he said.
The New Yorker reported last August that Obama’s “military advisers were divided” and “Robert Gates, the Secretary of Defense, was one of the most outspoken opponents of a helicopter assault,” recalling President Carter’s failed attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran in 1980.
When Charlie Rose pointed this out to Romney this morning, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee stuck to his talking points:
ROMNEY: Well you can look at the different military options but clearly if you’ve identified where Osama bin Laden is, the United States of America is going to take action, capture him or kill him. And that was the right action to be taken, that was the right course to be taken. We haven’t heard all the different military options there were.
Watch the clip:
It seems that Romney hasn’t been paying much attention to reports on the bin Laden raid. In fact, U.S. intelligence had not “identified” bin Laden, as Romney claimed. “My worry was the level of uncertainty about whether bin Laden was even in the compound,” Gates said in an interview with 60 Minutes. “There wasn`t any direct evidence that he was there. It was all circumstantial.”
Moreover, while it’s possible that “we haven’t heard all the different military options there were” for the bin Laden raid, as Romney also said, various reports have outlined a number of courses of action Obama could have taken. “Most were variations of either a JSOC raid or an airstrike. Some versions included cooperating with the Pakistani military; some did not,” the New Yorker reported.