It’s now well known that after President Obama’s re-election campaign released a video wondering whether Mitt Romney would have ordered the raid that killed Osama bin Laden (given that Romney said in 2008 that he would not), Romney’s push back has been that it was a no-brainer. “Any thinking American would have ordered exactly the same thing,” he says.
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who led the Pentagon at the time of the raid, and Vice President Biden said they advised Obama against the raid. And during a portion of an interview with Charlie Rose that aired on CBS This Morning yesterday, Gates said that “people don’t realize” how tough the decision was. PBS aired the full interview last night and Gates expounded on the consequences, saying a failed raid could have been “catastrophic” militarily and might have cost Obama re-election.
Rose then wondered if “any thinking American,” as Romney put it, would have made the same decision as Obama:
ROSE: Nobody can say “I would have made the same decision.” You don’t really know until you’re in the room and you listen to what the best people you know say to you and then you have to go as president and decide.
GATES: Right, absolutely.
Watch the clip:
Later in the interview, Gates, a Republican holdover from the Bush administration, also disagreed with Romney’s contention that Russia is American’s “number one geopolitical foe.”
“Do you agree with Governor Romney that Russia is our principal adversary or how he’s characterized the national security issue?,” Rose asked. “No, I don`t think so,” Gates replied.