Race4008‘s Jen Rubin asked Senator John McCain about Mitt Romney’s statement about Osama Bin Laden. McCain attributed his position to "naivete."

Recall the quote:

[Romney] said the country would be safer by only "a small percentage" and would not see "a very insignificant increase in safety" if al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was caught because another terrorist would rise to power. "It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person," Romney said. Instead, he said he supports a broader strategy to defeat the Islamic jihad movement.

In response to Jen Rubin’s question, Senator McCain said, (quote from NH Pres. Watch):

On a conference call with "bloggers" Senator John McCain took aim at Romney. In response to a question, McCain said "this is a national security issue," and that he "disagrees in the strongest terms." He also criticized Romney by saying "it takes a degree of naiveté to think he’s [bin Laden] is not an element in the struggle against radical Islam."

Note that this is the second major gaffe on a national security issue. Earlier, Romney had mentioned a secret timetable for withdrawal that Duncan Hunter blasted. This was similar to a plan offered by Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) which got no traction.

Senator McCain also mentioned bin Laden’s return to operational control of al Qaeda. There was also recent discussion of bin Laden’s assassination plot against Vice President DIck Cheney.

This whole discussion seems strange in light of Romney’s speech at Yeshiva University:

“Jihadism – violent, radical, fundamental Jihadism – is this century’s nightmare. It follows the same dark path as last century’s nightmares: fascism and Soviet communism. The September 11th Commission reported that al-Qaeda had been trying to acquire or build nuclear weapons for well over a decade. Former CIA Director George Tenet said that Osama bin Laden sees the acquisition of WMD as a ‘religious obligation.’ … We are faced with the horrific proposition that those who speak of genocide are developing the capability to carry it out. Radical, nuclear Jihad is the greatest threat that faces humanity. It cannot be appeased. It can only be defeated.”

Romney’s former driver, Dean Barnett, claims that this speech indicates that Romney "gets it."  I wonder if it suggests more than Romney is confused, or, as McCain says, "naive."



Open Mind · April 27, 2007 at 11:38 PM

Romney is neither naive nor confused. He has the courage to say it like it is.

In the book “The One Percent Doctrine” written by Ron Suskind he brings forward the evidences and details of the post 9/11 decisions. One important factor is Bin Laden’s ability to organize and coordinate future attacks has been all but diminished.

Yes he should be hunted down and brought to justice. However, in evaluating our nations security and safety when appropriating “Billions of Dollars” there are more important places to allocate this money then on one man who has little to no current ability to provide a threat. We need to spend the money on the current organizations and terrorists who are planning the next attack.

Romney DOESN’T say-don’t go after Bin Laden, he states a priority in spending defense dollars to keep America safe. Put the money on the broader problem.

I believe if this approach were used in the beginning we wouldn’t be in Iraq now.

rdem · April 28, 2007 at 1:55 PM

I agree. Romney is the type of “manager” who probably WOULD find Bin Laden and do so efficiently. The difference is, he is more interested in bottom line results (neutralizing global Jihad) than spending billions on a project that will produce more of a “feel-good” than actual safety for America.

The thing I find striking is that McCain continues to go after Romney even when Romney is single digits in the National polls. The reason is that Romney topped the Republican insider poll and has the most congressional endoresements. But the biggest shocker is that Romney is TIED FOR FIRST in New Hampshire in the latest Zogby poll. Romney may not be the MSM’s flavor of the month, but he is on the verge of being the de facto Republican frontrunner.

rdem · April 28, 2007 at 2:18 PM

I agree. Romney WOULD go after Bin Laden, but would save “moving Heaven and Earth” for taking down the Networks and franchises that exist everywhere from Manilla to Buffalo New York!

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