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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made a quick stop in New York this afternoon, marking the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death with a visit to a firehouse that lost 11 first responders during the Sept. 11 attacks. Appearing with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Romney insisted — again — that he too would have ordered the raid on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, adding that he thinks it is “inappropriate” for the Obama campaign to turn the Al Qaeda leader’s death into a campaign issue.
“Of course I would have ordered the taking out of Osama bin Laden,” Romney told reporters outside of the firehouse, where he earlier treated firefighters to an off-the-record pizza lunch. “This is a person who had done terrible harm to America and who represented a continuing threat to civilized people throughout the world. If I had been president of the United States, I would have made the same decision the president made.”
But Romney’s message was mostly overshadowed, first by angry Occupy Wall Street protesters, and later by the White House, which announced President Obama’s arrival in Afghanistan shortly after Romney wrapped up his remarks.
The President’s surprise visit to Kabul on the anniversary of bin Laden’s death would appear to underscore Romney’s criticism, but the Republican candidate’s pivot to the Sept. 11 attacks shows that the politicization of national security issues goes both ways. Republicans have taken most of the credit for the country’s firm response to 9/11, and Giuliani, Romney’s surrogate of the day, even leveraged his post-9/11 popularity into his own presidential campaign.
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