GOP says Obama campaign has turned Osama bin Laden's death into a political issue
Campaign adviser defends use of killing in recent Web video and in Joe Biden speech
Mitt Romney expected to meet with former rival Rick Santorum on Friday
Romney set to campaign Monday with Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire
Surrogates took up the argument over the bin Laden raid on the Sunday talk shows.
Senior Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs defended the campaign, while senior Romney adviser Ed Gillespie characterized it as a “bridge too far.”
Team Obama released a video on Friday, partially narrated by former President Bill Clinton, that praised the president’s decision to order the killing of the al Qaeda chief one year from Tuesday and questioned whether Romney would have made the same choice. Biden similarly questioned the former Massachusetts governor in a campaign-style speech on Thursday.
Gibbs, the former White House press secretary, said the video was “not over the line” and criticized comments Romney made on the issue during his first White House bid as “foolish.”
The video quotes Romney in 2007 during his first White House bid, saying, “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.” Days later, he said, “We’ll move everything to get him (bin Laden).”
“There’s a difference in the roles they would play as commander in chief, and I certainly think that’s fair game,” Gibbs said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
During his second White House bid, Romney has repeatedly praised the president for launching the raid on bin Laden.
Gillespie, a former aide to President George W. Bush and former chairman of the Republican National Committee, said using the raid for political purposes is one of the reasons Obama has “become one of the most divisive presidents in American history.”
“He took something that was a unifying event for all Americans, and he’s managed to turn it into a divisive, partisan political attack,” Gillespie said in a separate interview on the same NBC program. “I think most Americans will see it as a sign of a desperate campaign.”
Arizona Sen. John McCain, Obama’s 2008 opponent, called the minute-long spot “a cheap political attack ad.”
White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan avoided politics and praised the president’s decision-making skills on the talk shows and in an address Monday at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
“I don’t do politics,” Brennan said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I just know that President Obama, when the time came for him to make a momentous d