Mitt Romney doesn’t like it that President Obama’s re-election campaign in a new video decided to tout the president’s decision to order the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and to question — based on his comments from 2007 — whether Romney would have done the same thing. Here’s Romney complaining about the video ad on CBS this morning:
ROMNEY: And the idea to try to politicize this, and to say, “oh, I, President Obama would have done it one way and Mitt Romney would have done it another,” is really disappointing. Let’s not make the capture or killing of Osama bin Laden a politically divisive event. There are plenty of differences between President Obama and myself. But let’s not make up ones based on, “Well he might not have done this.” It’s disappointing and it’s unfortunate and it’s taking an event that really brought America together.
Back in 2004, President Bush ran a smear campaign against challenger Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) which undermined his service in Vietnam and questioned Kerry’s ability and determination to protect the United States — just three years removed from the 9/11 attacks — from another terror strike. “If we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we’ll get hit again,” then Vice President Dick Cheney said at the time.
And while Romney complains about Obama’s alleged “politicization” now, he willfully participated in the Bush-Cheney smear campaign on Kerry in 2004. During an August 9, 2004 (accessed via Lexis/Nexis) interview on Fox News, Romney suggested that Kerry would “twiddle his thumbs” when dealing with terrorism and in September 2004, also on Fox News, Romney said Kerry is too much of a flip-flopper to protect the country:
ROMNEY: [M]ost has already been said about John Kerry. I think people know pretty well that he’s a guy who has a hard time finding which side of a position to come down on. But I’m going to focus on the fact that our nation needs strong leadership. We’re under attack, militarily, economically. Our very way of life is under attack. And we need to have the kind of steady, strong leadership, which is represented by Dick Cheney, and by of course, President George W. Bush.
In his speech at the 2004 Republican National Convention (RNC) in New York City, Romney said “America is under attack from almost every direction,” later adding, “On the just war our brave soldiers are fighting to protect free people everywhere, there is no question: George W. Bush is right, and the ‘Blame America First’ crowd is wrong.”
The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent also notes that during his speech at the 2008 RNC, Romney “blasted Obama as untrustworthy when it comes to combating ‘the threat from radical, violent jihad,’ which he contrasted with John McCain, who, apparently unlike Obama, understands that ‘radical, violent Islam is evil,’ and will do everything he can to defeat it.”
“Republicans are — forgive the cliché — shocked, shocked to discover that a presidential contender is ‘politicizing’ an important national event,” Jon Meacham writes today, noting that Obama’s alleged “politicizing” might be a bit different from what the GOP knows. “In this sense,” Meacham writes, “‘politicizing’ might be best translated as ‘beating us up and we don’t have anything much to say to stop it.’”