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BRIDGE BRIEFING: Mitt Romney On Osama bin Laden

Romney Opposed Unilateral Action Targeting Al Qaeda In Pakistan And Said Capturing Bin Laden Was Not That Important

First Romney Said Killing Bin Laden Was Not Worth It, And That Unilateral Action Against Targets In Pakistan Was A Mistake

Romney Said It Was “Not Worth Moving Heaven And Earth” To Capture Osama Bin Laden Because America Would See An “Insignificant” Increase In Safety After His Capture. In an interview with Liz Sidoti of The Associated Press, Romney said, “the country would be safer by only ‘a small percentage’ and would see ‘a very insignificant increase in safety’ if al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was caught because another terrorist would rise to power. ‘It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person,’ Romney said. Instead, he said he supports a broader strategy to defeat the Islamic jihad movement.” [The Associated Press, 4/26/07]

Romney Attacked Obama For Promising Unilateral Action Against Al Qaeda Targets in Pakistan. Accoridng to Retuers, “Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized Democrat Barack Obama on Friday for vowing to strike al Qaeda targets inside Pakistan if necessary as the Obama camp issued a strident defense of his plan. What had been an internecine foreign policy battle between rival Democrats Obama, an Illinois senator, and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, spilled into the Republican arena in the heavily contested state of Iowa. ‘I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours… I don’t think those kinds of comments help in this effort to draw more friends to our effort,’ Romney told reporters on the campaign trail. Obama on Wednesday said if elected president in November 2008 he would be willing to launch military strikes against al Qaeda targets inside Pakistan with or without the approval of the Pakistani government of President Pervez Musharraf. ‘If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will,’ Obama said.” [Reuters, 8/4/07]

Romney Said Using U.S. Troops In Pakistan Was Not “Civilized.” According to the Associated Press, “Romney spoke at a luncheon meeting of young Republicans in Des Moines and later with reporters who asked for his reaction to Obama’s comments. In a speech this week, the senator from Illinois issued a warning to Pakistani leaders that if they didn’t do a better job of rooting out terrorists who use that country as a sanctuary, the U.S. might intervene with force. Instead of issuing threats, the U.S. should work with nations to root out extremist forces which may exist, Romney said. ‘We want as a civilized world to participate with other nations in this civilized effort to help those nations reject the extreme within them,’ Romney said. ‘That doesn’t mean that our troops are going to go all over the world.’” [Associated Press, 8/3/07]


Now Romney Says Obama Made The Right Call

Romney Said President Obama Deserved Credit For Killing Bin Laden. The Union Leader reported that Romney called the operation that killed Osama Bin Laden “an enormous success” and said Obama “deserves credit for approving a relatively high-risk entry into the country with helicopters and special operations personnel, Navy SEALs.” [The Union Leader, 5/5/11]