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Anniversary of bin Laden killing goes political

 Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gestures as he speaks at the state fishing pier, Monday, April 30, 2012, in ...
 A man gives a thumb up as Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets supporters at the Portsmouth Fish Pier in P...

Romney 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gestures as he speaks at the state fishing pier, Monday, April 30, 2012, in ...

Romney 2012

A man gives a thumb up as Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets supporters at the Portsmouth Fish Pier in P...

Republican Mitt Romney said Tuesday that it was "totally appropriate" for President Barack Obama to claim credit for taking out Osama bin Laden a year ago but that his decision to politicize a unifying event for the country was not.
Obama's re-election campaign has used his decision to order the U.S. military raid that ended with the 9/11 mastermind's death to suggest that Romney would not have made the same call. Romney, the president's all-but-certain Republican challenger in the fall election, says he would have made the same decision.
The two candidates are nearly even in most polls ahead of the November elections and as Romney has solidified his status as the challenger, the two men have been taking direct aim at each other in a series of speeches and campaign ads.
Marking the anniversary at a New York City fire house that lost 11 men on Sept. 11, 2001, Romney said he understood the president's desire to take credit for killing one of the world's most-wanted men.
"It's totally appropriate for the president to express to the American people the view that he has that he had an important role in taking out Osama bin Laden," Romney said after visiting the lower Manhattan fire station with Rudy Giuliani, who was mayor when terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center's twin towers and killed nearly 3,000 people.
"I think politicizing it and trying to draw a distinction between himself and myself was an inappropriate use of the very important event that brought America together," Romney said.
He and Giuliani had just eaten pizza with several fire fighters.
For his part, Obama marked the occasion by putting the power of incumbency on display. He flew unannounced to Afghanistan to sign an agreement cementing the U.S. commitment to that country after the unpopular war there ends. His predecessor, Republican George W. Bush, sent in troops shortly after 9/11 to eradicate Taliban and al-Qaida forces.
Obama will address U.S. audiences from Afghanistan at 7 p.m. EDT (midnight GMT) before returning to Washington.
Obama ordered the Navy SEAL raid on bin Laden's hideout deep in Pakistan one year ago. Over the weekend, Robert Gibbs, formerly Obama's spokesman and now a top campaign official, said it was unclear whether Romney would have ordered the killing of bin Laden.
"I think trying to attack me on that basis is inappropriate and the wrong course," Romney said.
He made the comments shortly after the Obama camp released a television ad accusing Romney of sending U.S. jobs overseas and keeping his money in Swiss accounts.
The Obama ad is partly in response to one released last week by the conservative political group Americans for Prosperity, which suggests money from Obama's $814 billion economic stimulus package went to overseas green-energy companies. Congress passed Obama's massive spending measure in hopes of pulling the U.S. economy out of the worst downturn since the 1930s Great Depression.
The economy is by far the biggest issue in the election, and Romney, who has seemingly locked up the nomination to challenge Obama in November, continues to attack the president on the issue.
The Obama campaign was spending about $780,000 to place the ad in battleground states Virginia, Ohio and Iowa, accuses. It accuses Romney of having "shipped American jobs to places like Mexico and China" when he led the investment firm Bain Capital. It also says Romney "outsourced state jobs to a call center in India" when he was governor of Massachusetts.
"It's just what you'd expect from a guy who had a Swiss bank account," the Obama ad says, referring to Romney's 2010 income tax filing that showed some family money is kept in accounts abroad. Romney's fortune is estimated to be as much as $250 million.
Republican contender Newt Gingrich, meanwhile, released a video on his website saying he would formally end his campaign Wednesday. The former House speaker, who has been out of the running for weeks, thanked supporters and said he would continue working to defeat Obama, saying the president's re-election would be a "genuine disaster" for the country. Gingrich did not, however, mention throwing his support to Romney.
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Associated Press Writers Beth Fouhy in New York and Steven R. Hurst in Washington D.C. contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-07-26 14:02 GMT+08:00