Bush, Obama Get bin Laden Credit, With Edge to Obama

Monday, 02 May 2011 04:16 PM

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Osama bin Laden no sooner was sleeping with the fishes when official Washington and various pundits began debating who should get credit — President Barack Obama, on whose orders and shift the take down occurred, or President George W. Bush, whose policies set it in motion. While noting that there is credit for both, the win goes to Obama, a Washington Post analysis concludes.

Barack Obama, George Bush, Osama bin Laden
Hunt for Osama bin Laden started on George Bush's watch, ended on Barack Obama's.
Obama clearly indicated when he announced bin Laden’s death Sunday night that he should get a lot of credit. The president noted how long bin Laden had avoided capture and how, after taking office, “I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al-Qaida, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network,” the Post reported.

Obama did mention Bush, and White House briefers openly cited a key moment in the search in the Bush administration. Some Republicans have praised both Obama and Bush, while others chalked nearly all of it up to the Bush administration.

However, Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., said, “This is a great moment for the United States. And let me, as a Republican, give President Obama tremendous credit for this. This was a significant military operation. He had to pull the trigger on it; he carried it out,” King said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“I supported President Bush's policies; the fact is it was President Obama who carried this mission to conclusion. I think it's important for all Americans to stand behind him and give him the credit as commander-in-chief for what he did,” the Post reported.

If the mission has failed, “Obama would have gotten the blame — as Jimmy Carter would attest about the failure to rescue hostages held in Iran,” the Post reported. While stating “Obama clearly built on efforts initiated during the Bush administration” and he “might have given a bit more of a public shout-out to his predecessor,” the Post concluded “the buck stops with the current occupant of the White House.”

“Certainly, if bin Laden had not been found, Obama’s Republican rival might have used a clip of Obama promising to kill bin Laden in some kind of attack ad. We’re with Pete King on this one: This happened on Obama’s watch, and he will reap the credit,” the Post wrote.


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