Obama on Romney and Bin Laden: 'I’d Just Recommend Everybody Take a Look at People’s Previous Statements'

By Fred Lucas | May 1, 2012 | 8:14 AM EDT

President Barack Obama speaks at the Building and Construction Trades Department Legislative Conference, Monday, April 30, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(CNSNews.com) – On Monday, during a joint news conference with the Japanese prime minister, President Barack Obama was asked about his thoughts on the first anniversary of bin Laden’s death in Pakistan.

The reporter who asked the question quoted Mitt Romney as saying that Obama’s decision to take out bin Laden was easy: “Anybody would have made that call, even Jimmy Carter,” Romney said on Monday.

“As far as my personal role and what other folks would do, I’d just recommend that everybody take a look at people’s previous statements in terms of whether they thought it was appropriate to go into Pakistan and take out bin Laden,” Obama replied. “I assume that people meant what they said when they said it.  That's been at least my practice.  I said that I’d go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him, and I did.

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“If there are others who have said one thing and now suggest they’d do something else, then I’d go ahead and let them explain it.”

Obama’s re-election campaign has released a video questioning what Romney would have done about bin Laden, given a comment Romney made in an interview with the Associated Press that was published on April 26, 2007.

The AP reported then that Romney said "the country would be safer by only 'a small percentage' and would see 'a very insignificant increase in safety' if al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was caught because another terrorist would rise to power. 'It's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person,' Romney said. Instead, he said he supports a broader strategy to defeat the Islamic jihad movement."

On Monday, campaigning in New Hampshire, Romney said “of course” he would have given the order to kill bin Laden if the opportunity presented itself, as it did for Obama.

"It's unfortunate that President Obama would prefer to use what was a good day for all Americans as a cheap political ploy and an opportunity to distort Gov. Romney's strong policies on the war on terror," the Associated Press quoted Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul as saying on Monday. "President Obama's feckless foreign policy has emboldened our adversaries, weakened our allies, and threatens to break faith with our military."

Sen. John McCain also criticized President Obama and his campaign for taking credit for "something that any president would do."

"I've had the great honor of serving in the company of heroes," McCain told Fox News's Bill O'Reilly on Monday. "And, you know, the thing about heroes, they don't brag."

Liberal Huffington Post editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington told CBS on Monday that the Obama campaign had crossed a line with by playing politics with the bin Laden situation: “I think it’s one thing to celebrate the fact that they did such a great job," Huffington said. "But to turn it into a campaign ad is one of the most despicable things you can do.”