Will Mitt Romney’s ‘Obama-Osama’ Problem Dog Him In This Election?


Buzzfeed‘s Andrew Kaczynski has dug up a rather inconvenient photo from Mitt Romney‘s last presidential campaign, in which he poses with a sign that says “Say No To Obama, Osama, and Chelsea’s Moma (no, Chelsea Clinton does not own a Museum Of Modern Art, that’s just how these people spell),” which the candidate laughed off as a “joke” in July of 2007. That, and the video we found of Romney “confusing” then-Sen. Barack Obama with Osama bin Laden, are embarrassing on a number of levels, not the least of which is the number that Obama and Chelsea’s mama did on Osama, a move Romney said he wouldn’t have made in 2007.

It’s been a campaign of ruff optics so far, and while the sight of Romney posing with a nasty sign like that probably pleases the conservative base he so wants to excite, it serves only to remind other voters that President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were sitting front-row when Seal Team Six punched bin Laden’s ticket. Ditto this clip from 2007, in which Romney “confuses” Barack Obama with the now-fish-feeding terrorist:

Bet he doesn’t get them mixed up now, huh?

What voters might not know is that the same Mitt Romney who conceded the nomination to John McCain in 2008 by suggesting that Barack Obama would “surrender to terror” also heavily criticized Obama over his promise to do exactly what he did: go into Pakistan and kill bin Laden, whether the Pakistani government liked it or not.

Late last year, Romney sang a different song, telling NBC’s Chuck Todd “I think in a setting like this one where Osama bin Laden was identified to be hiding in pakistan, that it was entirely appropriate for this president to move in and to take him out,” adding that “In a similar circumstance, I think other presidents and other candidates, like myself, would do exactly the same thing.”

Keep in mind that then-Sen. Obama couldn’t have described this setting better, in 2007, than if he were Miss Cleo:

“There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans,” he said. “They are plotting to strike again. . . . If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.”

While Barack Obama’s rivals attacked him vigorously over the statement at the time, not all of them did so on the basis of opposition to unilateral action. What did Mitt Romney say then? A source from Priorities USA Action points out that he said this to Reuters at the time:

“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.

…Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is one of the Republican front-runners, said U.S. troops “shouldn’t be sent all over the world.” He called Obama’s comments “ill-timed” and “ill-considered.”

“There is a war being waged by terrorists of different types and nature across the world,” Romney said. “We want, as a civilized world, to participate with other nations in this civilized effort to help those nations reject the extreme with them.”

So, Romney was against unilateral action (which President Obama took in killing bin Laden), and wanted to keep Pakistan in the loop, which President Obama did not do lest they tip bin Laden off. It sounds like Mitt Romney would not have done what President Obama did. In comments to the Associated Press, Romney even seemed to rule out using US troops (like SEAL Team 6) at all:

Instead of issuing threats, the United States should work with nations to root out extremist forces, 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.”

Romney said the remarks were not helpful to the American effort.

Still, Romney can always argue that we don’t need a president like Barack Obama anymore, now that Barack Obama has killed all of the terrorists. Maybe his slogan should be “Osama Isn’t Working.”

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