TASTELESS – AT 8:47 A.M. ET: As we commemorate the first anniversary of the dispatching of Osama bin Laden by Navy Seals, we watch in dismay as President Obama tries to exploit the action for his own political gain. It is going down badly with those who understand that the Seals were the ones at risk, not the president. From The Hill:
The killing of Osama bin Laden is undoubtedly a crowning achievement in President Obama's tenure at the White House.
Yet one year after the president ordered the successful mission that resulted in the death of the nation's number one enemy, it's unclear how much of a boost Obama will receive in the fall.
Obama got a poll bump, but it didn't last very long. The economy hovered over everything, as it still does.
Polls now suggest Obama has a slim lead over presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in an election that is likely to be razor-tight, and seems equally likely to focus on the economy and not national security.
Nonetheless, Obama's campaign team has touted bin Laden's death in the days leading up to the anniversary to remind the public of the president's decision, and to contrast Obama's leadership on national security with Romney.
The most notable part of the push is a web video that suggested Romney would not have made the decision to target bin Laden.
Though the bin Laden poll bounce was short-lived, the new push around the anniversary suggests Obama's campaign team sees bin Laden as a powerful symbol for the president that, if used effectively, could put Obama over Romney in November.
Yet there are risks with the approach, too.
Republicans have used the web video and criticism of Romney to accuse Obama of crass opportunism.
Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the video attacking Romney was “a cheap political attack ad,” “the height of hypocrisy,” and a “pathetic political act of self-congratulation.”
Some also argue highlighting bin Laden's death could spur on new terrorist attacks, or at least leave Obama vulnerable to the argument that he is not making the country safer.
Al Qaeda and its affiliates have for years used the heated rhetoric and actions of U.S. political figures to inspire terrorists to action.
COMMENT: What's also remarkable is that the first person to bring up the charge against Romney was Joe Biden, who actually opposed the bin Laden raid. Talk about nerve.
I don't think the bin Laden operation will do much for the president, unless Romney puts his foot in his mouth, which he is prone to do. In World War II, when American airmen shot down the Japanese admiral who'd planned the attack on Pearl Harbor, citizens did not applaud President Roosevelt. They applauded the pilots.
During the Korean War, when our forces pulled off one of the most daring operations in modern military history, the invasion of Inchon, Americans did not cheer Harry Truman. They cheered Douglas MacArthur and the Marines.
Obama can push it too far. He's already doing it.
April 30, 2012