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Romney says he would have ordered bin Laden killed

(AP) / 1 May 2012

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said that ‘of course’ he would have ordered the killing of Osama bin Laden, pushing back after President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign raised questions about Romney’s willingness to assassinate the former terrorist leader.

With the Americans remembering the anniversary of the Obama-authorized US military raid in Pakistan that ended with bin Laden’s death, campaign adviser Robert Gibbs said on Sunday that it was unclear whether Romney would have made the same decision as Obama.

‘Look, just a few years ago, President Obama — then a candidate — said in a speech that if we had actionable intelligence of a high-value target in Pakistan, we’d go in and get that high value target,’ Gibbs said on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press.’ ‘‘Mitt Romney said that was foolish. He wouldn’t do such a thing. That he wouldn’t move heaven and earth to get Osama bin Laden.’

Speaking to reporters in New Hampshire on Monday, Romney said he would have made the same decision.

‘Of course. Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order,’ Romney said.

Many Americans remember Carter’s foreign policy record as weak, primarily because of his inability to win the release of the Americans who were taken hostage in Iran and held for 444 days during his 1977-81 presidency.

Romney has scheduled an appearance Tuesday in New York City with firefighters and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani to mark the anniversary of the killing of bin Laden, who was responsible for the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Last week, Obama’s campaign released a video featuring former President Bill Clinton that sought to reinforce Gibbs’ doubts about Romney. ‘Which path would mitt Romney have taken?’ the video asks.

Former New Hampshire Gov. John H. Sununu, a key Romney supporter who was chief of staff in President George H. W. Bush’s White House, said Obama was wrong to take credit for bin Laden’s killing. Sununu said the decision was ultimately made by a Navy admiral.

‘It’s wrong in taking credit and it’s wrong in implying that someone else would not have made the same decision,’ Sununu said before Romney addressed a crowd on Portsmouth Fish Pier. ‘There is no way that anyone sitting in that White House would not have at least done what he did.’

Obama, meanwhile, rallied union workers by painting a bleak portrait of America’s infrastructure. He blamed Republicans for focusing on tax cutting rather than creating jobs by updating and rebuilding highways, railroads and airports.

Obama told the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO that US highways are clogged, railroads are no longer the fastest in the world and airports are congested. Yet, he said, Republicans have repeatedly voted against his initiatives to create jobs by spending on construction projects.

Union members greeted him with chants of ‘Four more years.’ He urged House Republicans to pass a stalled transportation bill.

Obama said: ‘Republicans in Congress would rather put fewer of you to work rebuilding America than ask millionaires and billionaires to live without massive new tax cuts.’

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