CHICAGO, May 1, 2012 – In every presidential election campaign, there is a turning point.
In the 1984 presidential debate, Ronald Reagan turned the age question to his advantage, comically making the “youth and inexperience” of then 56 year-old Walter Mondale the issue. Mondale’s expression said it all: He had lost.
The campaign of George H. W. Bush reached its turning point when it launched the now infamous Willie Horton ad against Michael Dukakis.
President Obama’s latest campaign video spot that questions whether Mitt Romney would have ordered the raid on Osama bin Laden might very well be his.
With one ad spot, President Obama has managed to turn what is, arguably, his Administration’s greatest accomplishment into a shallow campaign maneuver that cheapens the attacks on 9/11 with a dishonest attack on the presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
Given the circumstances, that’s quite an accomplishment even for President Obama.
So how dishonest is Obama’s attack on Romney?
The Obama campaign ad deceptively relies on an old April 2007 interview with Mitt Romney with the Associated Press. Romney was backing a broad strategy to defeat Islamic jihadists in general and said that it’s “not worth moving heaven and earth” for one person. He argued that someone would replace bin Laden as the head of Al Qaeda.
In May 2007, Romney further explained his remarks. “We’ll move everything to get him [bin Laden]. But I don’t want to buy into the Democratic pitch that this is all about one person. … It’s more than Osama bin Laden. But he is going to pay, and he will die.”
However, that particular part of Romney’s statement didn’t actually find its way into the Obama campaign video spot.
However, the Obama campaign spot is misleading in other ways. Opponents also argue that it also resurrects concerns about the President’s ability to protect the country from terrorist attack.
Former President Bill Clinton appears in the spot touting Obama’s leadership skills.
By that time, Bin Ladin had already been named an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993
In 2009, President Obama called for an investigation into the enhanced interrogation of suspected terrorists during the Bush Administration. Attorney General Eric Holder named a special prosecutor to look into the charges.
The President had been outspoken on the issue of enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding, condemning it as “torture.”
On January 22, 2009, Obama issued an executive order to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility and pushed to move the trials of suspected terrorists to civilian courts.
Claiming the moral high ground, Obama also signed an executive order requiring the CIA to use only the 19 interrogation methods outlined in the United States Army Field Manual, which, effectively, banned the use of enhanced interrogations.
But Jose Rodriguez, a retired CIA agent and designer of the enhanced interrogation program, defended the techniques contending that they “saved American lives.”
“I cannot tell you how disgusted my former colleagues and I felt to hear ourselves labeled ‘torturers’ by the president of the United States,” said Rodriguez, who says that he also led a CIA briefing of the enhanced techniques to members of congress, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi, prior to their use.
In the days after the successful raid on Abottabad compound, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed that intelligence garnered from detainees subjected to enhanced interrogations was used to track down bin Laden and kill him.
When asked by NBC’s Brian Williams if water-boarding was part of the “enhanced interrogation techniques,” Panetta said “that’s correct.”
The political firestorm over the misleading ad spot has just begun. Criticism against the President is now mounting from both the political left and the right.
Huffington Post Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington has called the ad “despicable.”
The Daily Mail has reported that serving and former Navy SEALS are also critical.
“The war on terror continues. Taking him out didn’t really change anything as far as the war on terror is concerned and using it as a political attack is a cheap shot,” said Chris Kyle, a former SEAL sniper.
“The more he tries to take the credit for it, the more the ground operators are saying, “Come on, man!” It really didn’t matter who was president. At the end of the day, they were going to go,” remarked a serving SEAL team member.
The President’s unsettling political blunder is leading some to reconsider: Did we get bin Laden because of President Obama or…despite him?
Conservative commentator and satirist William J. Kelly is also a contributor to Breitbart.com and edits the Tea Party Reports for the
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