WASHINGTON – Former US leader Bill Clinton appeared in an election campaign video Friday in which he hailed President Barack Obama for ordering the risky military operation that killed Osama bin Laden a year ago.
“He had to decide. And that’s what you hire a president to do. You hire the president to make the calls when no one else can do it,” Clinton said in the video, which sought to contrast Obama with his Republican foe Mitt Romney.
Entitled “One Chance,” the ad used news footage including quotes from Romney during the 2008 election in which the former Massachusetts governor appeared ambivalent about going after the Al-Qaeda leader.
Clinton saluted Obama for going ahead with the clandestine military raid in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad despite knowing that if it went wrong the consequences would be disastrous, and said it produced “the best result.”
“Suppose the Navy SEALs had gone in there, and it hadn’t been bin Laden,” Clinton said in the one-and-a-half minute video.
“Suppose they’d been captured or killed. The downside would have been horrible for him. But he reasoned, I cannot in good conscience do nothing. He took the harder and more honorable path.”
Bin Laden was killed during the covert May 2 raid last year, an operation that outraged the Pakistani government and Islamabad’s powerful military who Washington chose to keep in the dark throughout.
Bin Laden’s killing, one year ago next week, plunged US-Pakistani ties to an all-time low but it was seen as a huge strategic and popular success for Obama given the decade-long hunt for the Al-Qaeda chief.
The Obama campaign video featured a screen grab from a news report quoting Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee to take on Obama in November’s general election, as doubting the merits of searching for bin Laden.
“It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person,” Romney was quoted as saying in a news report included on a CNN program when he was a Republican candidate four years ago.