White House Backs Biden's Claim That Killing Bin Laden Was Boldest Mission in ‘500 Years’

By Fred Lucas | March 20, 2012 | 3:40 PM EDT

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden delivers a speech at the presidential house in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Tuesday, March, 6, 2012. Biden is on a one-day visit to Honduras. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

(CNSNews.com) – The White House asserted that Vice President Joe Biden did not misspeak when he said, “you can go back 500 years. You cannot find a more audacious plan,” referring to President Barack Obama’s decision to kill Osama bin Laden.

During the press briefing Tuesday, a reporter asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney about the Biden comment made Monday at a fundraising event in Morris Township, N.J. “What did he mean by that?”

The question prompted laughter throughout the briefing room, as Carney kept a straight face.

“I think he meant the decision the president made, as you all know and are aware of, was a very difficult one,” Carney said. “It has been reported that the information we had obviously was high quality, but it was not conclusive, that the advice the president was getting from his senior most national security advisors was mixed on what to do, mixed at best. But in the end, he had to make a very big decision.

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Obama gave the order to the Navy Seals in early May 2011 to invade the compound in Pakistan where bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, lived and kill the terrorist mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attack. The Obama reelection campaign, in fundraising and in a recent 17-minute film, has focused heavily on this event.

“I think one of the reasons he felt so confident in making that decision was that he knew the forces he would send in on the bin Laden mission were the absolute best that have ever existed and that they would fulfill their mission with great professionalism and success,” Carney said. “Obviously, it would have been a different story if bin Laden hadn’t been in that compound.”

The same reporter asked – in context of the 500 years remark – “More audacious than D-Day?”

Carney was less adamant in his answer.

“Well, the historical assessment I think I’ll leave to him and others,” Carney said. “But there is no question, this is a very difficult decision that only commanders-in-chief have to make.

“He didn’t misspeak?” the reporter asked.

Carney answered, “No.”

D-Day occurred on June 6, 1944 when 160,000 allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of French coastline to fight Nazi Germany forces on the beaches of Normandy. More than 5,000 ships, 13,000 aircraft supported the invasion that allowed the allies to gain a foothold in Normandy by day’s end, according to the U.S. Army website.

Ultimately, 9,000 allied soldiers were killed or wounded, but 100,000 soldiers marched across Europe to defeat German forces because of the invasion.

Biden attended the fundraiser at a private home in New Jersey where the cost for a regular ticket was $1,000, and the VIP reception cost $5,000, according to the White House press pool report. The event was expected to raise $400,000 for the Obama reelection campaign.

During the event, Biden recalled the decision to strike the compound and kill bin Laden.

“You can go back 500 years. You cannot find a more audacious plan,” the vice president told the donors. “Never knowing for certain. We never had more than a 48 percent probability that he was there.”

“Do any one of you have a doubt that if that raid failed that this guy would be a one-term president? Biden continued. “This guy is willing to do the right thing and risk losing.”