The No-Brainer Bin Laden Card

Last week, President Obama’s reelection campaign received a lot of media attention with the release of a video advertisement detailing the president’s decision to conduct the successful raid on the Bin Laden compound in Pakistan last year. Almost immediately, criticism streamed in from Republicans who argued that it was inappropriate to politicize such a unifying, sacred event.

I disagree. I think the president has every right to use the killing of Bin Laden as an argument for his reelection.

Candidates running for office should be able to cite their leadership achievements, even when it comes to sensitive issues. They should be able to provide evidence of their successes, define why those successes make them a good leader, and explain why that leadership qualifies them to be in office.

I felt the same way about Rudy Giuliani in the 2008 presidential primaries. When someone displays the kind of leadership that he showed on 9/11 in the midst of chaos and destruction, the notion that he can’t reference that performance when running for the presidency of the United States is absurd.

Notably, the president and members of his administration didn’t always feel the way I do.

Four years ago, when then U.S. senator Barack Obama was contesting to be the Democratic party’s presidential candidate, his campaign chided opponent Hillary Clinton for using Osama Bin Laden in one of her political ads. Joe Biden, on more than one occasion mocked Rudy Giuliani for speaking of his experience at ground-zero on 9/11. Even in the wake of the Bin Laden killing, President Obama stressed that we shouldn’t treat the terrorist’s death like a “trophy” and that we shouldn’t “spike the football”.

Hypocrisy aside, I do believe our president deserves credit for ordering the Bin Laden raid, and I have no problem with him touting its success.

What I do have a problem with, however, is the narrative that has been widely pushed by the media and the administration, categorizing the tactical decision to take down Bin Laden as some sort of exceptional effort on the part of President Obama. It wasn’t.

Don’t get me wrong… There were certainly military risks involved, and the issue of Pakistan’s sovereignty could have certainly opened a can of worms in our relationship with that country. However,  I can’t imagine that ANY president wouldn’t have ordered the kill or capture of the man behind 9/11 if he or she was told by the CIA that they found him. Who would NOT act on that intelligence? It seems to me that it would be nearly an impeachable offense not to.

It wouldn’t have made a difference if it was George W. Bush, Al Gore, John Kerry, John McCain, or Hillary Clinton. In a post-9/11 world, finding Bin Laden would have resulted in the terrorist becoming toast.

The reason I feel compelled to even make that point is because of the one tacky element the Obama campaign chose to introduce into their Bin Laden drive. They insinuated that Mitt Romney would not have acted on the Bin Laden intelligence, had he been the president. Of course he would have. To think otherwise would be silly.

I think it’s safe to say that the Romney campaign won’t criticize the Obama administration for his handling of Bin Laden. They shouldn’t. Obama made the right call (one of the very few he’s made over the past three and a half years), and it would be politically dumb for them to do so.

Still, there’s a glowing irony that I can’t seem to push out of my mind when I listen to the Obama administration now spike the football over the Bin Laden raid. It was the controversial intelligence and interrogation techniques put in place by the Bush administration that ultimately led the CIA to Bin Laden. These were the very techniques that Obama adamantly condemned while he ran for the presidency. For nearly four years, the Obama administration has routinely blamed the poor state of the country on a situation he inherited from Bush. Yet, he’s now running on one of the very few successes he’s enjoyed as president – one that came to fruition from policies he also inherited from Bush.

Somehow, I doubt that little tidbit will turn up any of Obama’s future campaign videos.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration (Computer Information Systems), and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. He is the author of the Sean Coleman Thriller series, which is available through all major retailers. John lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
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  • terry


    DOG ?

  • Miltm13

    It’s reprehensible for a campaign to speculate on what their opponent may, or may not have done in the same exact circumstance. The only historical fact is that we did have a President that was presented with a sure “kill-sh0t” on OBL and balked. Then to use that same ex-Rapist-In-Chief in that ad is beyond the pale!

    Here’s a hypothetical: If the White House is snowed-in for weeks, and food runs out, does Obama eat Bo, or does Michelle’s infamous arms look like some good turkey drumsticks?

    That’s just as ridiculous and why would anyone with any brains go there?

    Oops, I just answered my own question.

  • Jeff Metz

    Well the killing of bin Laden is the one and ONLY legitimate accomplishment of this presidency.  That is sad but it is also a stark fact.  If the President can’t get re-elected based on his celebrity he is finished.  He surely loses on the issues and lack of accomplishments.

    Jeff Metz

    • cmacrider

      Jeff:  Don’t forget he killed the XL Pipeline too.   He’s killed the economy … and he’s killed the idea of “being presidential.   This guy is a real killer … maybe the left should start demanding he be put before the International War Crimes Tribunal.  

  • Kathie Ampela

    The Navy Seals deserve the most credit, for they did the dirty work, they are the true heroes. John McCain said it best, true heroes don’t brag.

    As someone who was 4 blocks from the WTC on 9/11, this subject always hits close to home for me. Pres. Obama does deserve credit for the UBL killing no question, but so does the Bush administration for the policies put in place long before. Not only has the Bush administration not gotten the credit it deserves on the issue, it has been slandered by a media with it’s own agenda. It’s how I got to Bernie Goldberg in the first place. I give credit where it is due and give respect where it is deserved; that is what seperates me from the despicable actions of the Left.  But I don’t forgive and I don’t forget. 
    If the question is a political one, Obama should certainly use the issue to his advantage as the GOP would do the same. But it is the responsiblity of the citizenry to see the truth.

    As for the failure of Bill Clinton to take out Bin Laden in 1998, had he given the order to kill UBL back then 3,000 people would still be here.

    • Michael

      “As for the failure of Bill Clinton to take out Bin Laden in 1998, had he given the order to kill UBL back then 3,000 people would still be here.”

      Finally!  Someone with some frigging sense on this issue.  Thank you.

  • cmacrider

    John:  I don’t think any reasonable person can argue with your analysis.  However, it is discouraging to watch the Republicans allow the Democrats to frame the debate with a series of distractions.  Surely the Republicans have someone with sufficient moxy to recognize that they now have to go on the offensive and ensure the debate is over Obama’s incompetency, the lacklustre economy, and his left wing ideology.

  • Brandt Hardin

    One year after Bin Laden’s death and over 10 years since
    9/11, American citizens are still blindly allowing their civil liberties to be
    taken away one piece of legislation at a time. 
    How much freedom are we willing to sacrifice to feel safe?  Under the guise of fighting terrorism, the
    Patriot Act was adopted WITHOUT public approval or vote just weeks after the
    twin towers fell.  These laws are simply
    a means to spy on our own citizens and to detain and torture dissidents without
    trial or a right to council.  You can
    read much more about living in this Orwellian society of fear and see my visual
    response to these measures on my artist’s blog at

  • EddieD_Boston

    Well if I was Obama running for re-election I’d talk about it constantly. What else the he have? A record of failure is not something you can run on.

    • EddieD_Boston

      Ooops…does he have…

  • GlenFS

    John, can’t disagree with a thing.  Besides Clinton, the only other prez who I might have thought wouldn’t make such a choice…. is Obama himself.  Thank God he did, he couldn’t manage to act decisively in the same way when our drone fell into Iranian hands.

  • Bruce A.

    The MSM gave 100% of the credit to Pres. Obama on Bin Ladens death.  Pres. Obama seemed very eager to soak it all up.  After listening to the MSM coverage & gushing I would swear our military did not exist & the Navy Seals were a show at Sea World.

  • Michael

    I don’t think he should take “credit” for it.  If his campaign is going to run ads about that operation, then they should be running ads thanking the countless numbers of personnel in the intelligence and/or special operations community who risked their lives tracking and killing that SOB.

  • Vince Ricardo

    The killing of Bin Laden was Bush’s fault!

    No, no, you’re right, John. I cannot see that statement comin’ up in any of our current President’s campaign stops.

    And, actually, one President famously DIDN’T make the “call” on Bin Laden before, President Clinton, in 1998. I guess when now former President Clinton said, in reference to Obama’s call on the successful Bin Laden strike, “I hope I would’ve been able to make that call,” we already know the answer, don’t we?

    • Michael

      You’re exactly right.  Clinton passed the buck to the next occupant of the oval office because he didn’t want to deal with possible blowback from killing bin Laden, even though bin Laden was actively recruiting and training and equipping personnel for his stated mission: to destroy the United States, the Great Satan.  Several thousand Americans died as a result, but the mainstream media provides plenty of cover for the philandering draft dodger, just as they do for Obama.   

      • Bob

        As John said, Clinton didn’t give Bin Laden a pass in a post-9/11 world.  If we went around killing everyone who didn’t like the United States we would be very busy indeed.

        • Michael

          Yes, we would be busy, but no one said anything about killing “everyone who didn’t like the United States.”  It has been clearly documented and made public that OBL was engaged in acts of terrorism against the United States long before 9/11.  Clinton was urged to allow US forces to capture or kill bin Laden for that very reason, but Clinton refused.   

    • John Daly

      You’re right about Clinton, but I’m talking about Bin Laden in a post-9/11 world.