Bin Laden ad by Obama campaign draws criticism (VIDEO)


A White House handout image shows President Obama with National Security Adviser Tom Donilon in the Situation Room as he monitored the mission against Osama bin Laden, May 1, 2011.


Pete Souza/The White House

The Obama campaign is standing by its controversial new ad that questions whether GOP candidate Mitt Romney would have approved the raid to kill Osama bin Laden.

Huffington Post editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington voiced her criticism of the spot on Monday, calling it "one of the most despicable things you can do."

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“I think it’s one thing to celebrate the fact that they did such a great job. It’s one thing to have an NBC special from the Situation Room,” the media mogul said on “CBS This Morning." “All that, to me, is perfectly legitimate. But to turn it into a campaign ad is one of the most despicable things you can do.”

The video, released Friday, features Bill Clinton touting President Barack Obama's role in directing the raid that resulted in bin Laden's death last May. It then questions whether Romney would have made the same call, according to Fox News.

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Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs, the former White House press secretary, told Fox News that the ad was "fair game."

Gibbs recalled Romney's reaction to then-candidate Obama's speech about capturing high value targets on NBC's "Meet the Press," saying, "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."

Romney adviser Ed Gillespie acknowledged it's legitimate for Obama to be proud of the bin Laden raid, but objected to the implication that Romney would not have made the same decision. Gillespie called the move "divisive."

"I think most Americans will see it as a sign of a desperate campaign," Gillespie said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Obama's 2008 opponent, Arizona Sen. John McCain, issued a scathing statement in which he accused Obama of playing politics with the bin Laden killing and "diminishing the memory of September 11th."

GOP strategist Nancy Pfotenhauer told Fox News the video "politicizes something that shouldn't have been politicized" and signals how "nasty" the 2012 campaign will become.

Romney himself responded to the question of whether he would have made the same call as Obama, saying, "Of course," according to the Associated Press.

While speaking to reporters after a rally in New Hampshire, Romney added, "Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order," invoking Carter's failed rescue mission during the Iran hostage crisis in 1979-80.

According to the AP, Romney is scheduled to appear in New York City on Tuesday, with firefighters and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, to mark the anniversary of bin Laden's death.

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