President Barack Obama wasted no time in taking political credit for the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Obama devoted only a couple of sentences of his press conference to the actual announcement of the death of Bin Laden. The rest of Obama’s comments consisted of political posturing, making Obama appear to be the hero in the search for Bin Laden. Former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney were only alluded to, even though the former Republication administration was responsible for launching the war on terror and setting in motion the forces that eventually found and killed Bin Laden.
Bush issued a statement lauding the death of Bin Laden: “The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.”
The political posturing Sunday night by Obama makes it clear that Obama intends to leverage the death of Bin Laden to his maximum advantage. Obama is facing a tough election battle in his bid for re-election and it is clearly to his advantage to claim all the credit for the death of Bin Laden. Of course, by taking all the credit, Obama runs the risk of also taking all the blame for whatever violent response the radical Islamic world employs to take revenge against the United States and its allies for the death of the leader of Al-Qaida. Evidently, senior Democratic strategists have reached the conclusion that the benefits to Obama outweigh the risks.
Obama gains immediate political leverage with having been seen to be presidential both in ordering the attack on Bin Laden and in his press conference performance. Republican politicians and their agenda were immediately placed on the news back burner for this news cycle and it is evident that the news of Bin Laden’s death may occupy the lead position on the daily news cycles for at least a week. There will be numerous follow-on stories on all possible angles including the details of the special forces operation, the units involved, coordination between CIA and military resources, political considerations, and integration with Pakistani forces.
But the most favorable news for Obama will be the fawning press coverage from the Main Stream Media which is already latching onto the news of Bin Laden’s death to hype Obama as the leader America has been looking for.
It is unknown if the special operations team involved in the operation was Army’s Delta Force, the Navy’s SEALs or Rangers, or another elite unit. Regardless, Obama will undoubtedly seek to further ingratiate himself with the American public by attempting to closely ally himself with the true heroes of the search for Bin Laden. Obama has well learned the lesson from Rahm Emmanuel that he should never let a crises go to waste. Fortunately for Obama, this is only a crisis for Al-Qaida. However, the lesson still applies, and Obama and his public relations team is seeking to squeeze out to the very last drop, the political capital that can be gained from this major international news story.