The campaign message-makers have crafted a narrative that presents Obama as a bold and decisive chief executive who made a very tough call exactly one year ago today, one that had it gone awry might have doomed his presidency. Instead, when bin Laden’s hiding place in Pakistan was discovered, Obama made the risky call to send in U.S. special forces, who ultimately captured and killed the head of the al-Qaida network. While not completely subduing violent jihadists, the death of bin Laden sent a signal that the United States remains committed to bringing justice to the 9/11 plotters.
Last week, the Obama campaign released an online ad noting likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney had in 2007 scoffed at the idea of “moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person,” meaning bin Laden.
The Republican reaction was red-hot. “Shameless” (according to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.) and “sad” (a Romney spokeswoman) are two examples of anger from the Republican side.
Obama and his campaign must proceed carefully. While it’s important to note a significant achievement in a president’s first term, the incumbent shouldn’t press the matter too far.
However, this isn’t going to be the last campaign ad to rile the other side. There’s a lot of campaigning between now and the 2012 General Election. We fear the terms sad and shameless will receive a vigorous workout between now and November.