Mitt Romney campaign co-chair and former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu accused President Obama of waiting too long to order the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, in an interview with the New York Times that was published on Saturday.
Sununu said that Obama was “timid,” could have gone after the terrorist mastermind sooner, and attributed the successful operation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:
The president is trying to take credit for following the strategy and the tactics put into place by George W. Bush. At some point the president is going to have to explain why he was timid on the first two or three opportunities that we had. Thank goodness Hillary Clinton was there was to convince him to do the right thing. [...] His trying to take credit for having been decisive belies the fact that he wasn’t decisive until pressed by others.
But former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who served in both the Bush and Obama administrations, described Obama’s decision to order the raid that killed Osama bin Laden “gutsy,” saying that “people don’t realize” what a tough call it was and not everyone would have made the same call. Vice President Biden and Gates both advised Obama against taking the course he chose on the bin Laden raid, noting that “There wasn’t any direct evidence that he was there. It was all circumstantial.”
Indeed, even Romney had hinted that he would have not followed in Obama’s footsteps. In April of 2007, Romney said, “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person,” but quickly changed his mind after bin Laden was killed. “Any thinking American would have ordered exactly the same thing,” he proclaimed earlier this year.