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Didn’t media/Dems get all upset when W used 9/11 photo in his re-election campaign to help Republican campaigns?

Charlie Spiering reports that Obama spikes the bin Laden football. . . again:

“A year ago today,” the Obama campaign tweeted this morning, sharing again the famous White House photo of President Obama and his staff in the Situation Room as they watched the Osama bin Laden operation unfold.

You can almost see the president pulling the trigger himself. . .

UPDATE: Here’s why I changed the title:

The White House approves of the Republican congressional campaign committee’s plan to sell a photograph of President Bush — taken hours after the September 11 attacks — to raise money for the GOP, a move Democrats call “nothing short of grotesque.”The White House photograph shows Bush aboard Air Force One, talking to Vice President Dick Cheney on the afternoon of September 11.

UPDATE: But, there’s this from the Washington Post:

President Bush’s day-old reelection advertising campaign generated criticism and controversy yesterday, as relatives of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist strikes charged that television commercials using images from the attacks were exploiting the tragedy for political gain.



  1. There are rumblings of pushback from the Navy SEALs involved in the operation. As Romney suggested the other day, even Jimmuh Carter would have played the role Obama played. Obama takes way too much credit for the work of others. And it’s possible that he compromised SEAL Team Six and contributed to the strike that cost many of their lives, by having yapped about them rather too much.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — May 1, 2012 @ 1:43 pm - May 1, 2012

  2. Didn’t media/Dems get all upset when W used 9/11 photo in his re-election campaign to help Republican campaigns?

    Yes, Dan. And an un-single-striked, Yes, as well. There were plenty of Repub oriented ads in 2004, using the imagery of 9-11 to help re-elect President Bush (and give Dems a black eye). And Dems complained from the get go. Eye roll… Now it is the Repubs turn to complain. Eye roll…

    Comment by Cas — May 1, 2012 @ 1:52 pm - May 1, 2012

  3. It would be nice if both sides of the aisle could learn to accept that taking credit for these sorts of Presidential decisions is simply fair. Of course, in a related vein, it would be nice if Presidents could give credit to their predecessors for the decisions they made that led to these good things.

    And elsewhere in my fantasy world….. 🙂

    Comment by Neptune — May 1, 2012 @ 1:58 pm - May 1, 2012

  4. I found it very funny when they made that campaign ad with Bill Clinton talking about how brave Obama was for ordering the killing of bin laden. I thought to myself “who on earth wouldn’t have made the exact same call?” Of course I found myself looking right at Bill Clinton as I thought this. Of course he thinks it was a tremendous act of courage, he’s Bill Clinton.

    The Obama reelection campaign thus far has made no effort to even hide just how slimy and desperate they are. They’ll exploit this for all it’s worth, they’ll pander to various special interests, and they’ll pick fights over non-issues. In the past it seems like Democrats have always tried to hide this kind of campaign behind some sort of glossy finish, but they aren’t even doing that this time. It’s pretty astonishing.

    Comment by Jimmy — May 1, 2012 @ 2:07 pm - May 1, 2012

  5. Repub oriented ads

    What clever weasel-language, Cas. You cite an ad:

    1) which is *specifically* about *defense* issues like the Islamists’ war on America, and which therefore logically puts up pictures of them to remind the viewer of what it is trying to talk about; and
    2) which was, in fact, not – repeat *NOT* – a Republican ad.

    In other words, a cite which in no way supports the point you want to make. But you don’t let that stop you! Oh, no! 🙂 You just use weasel language to try to create an impression that it somehow supports the point you want to make (about Republicans). Very clever. Trouble is, if anyone notices.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — May 1, 2012 @ 2:23 pm - May 1, 2012

  6. For the record–and perhaps for a subsequent post — I believe Obama has every right to spike the ball (as it were). The problem is not the spiking, but his attacks on Romney.

    Just as Bush could campaign on his leadership in the wake of 9/11 so too can Obama campaign on this, one of his few accomplishments. But, it’s simply wrong to attack Romney the way he has, suggesting that were he president, the presumptive Republican nominee would not have done what Obama did.

    And just as the receiver spikes the ball when he scores a touchdown, he knows that while he may have scored, he owes it to the rest of his team for helping him make it to the end zone. And George W. Bush and a good number of people (of both parties) worked on the plan that created that successful play.

    Obama deserves credit here, but so does George W. Bush and Leon Panetta and Don Rumsfeld, etc., etc

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — May 1, 2012 @ 2:38 pm - May 1, 2012

  7. “Obama deserves credit here…”

    Maybe a small amount. However, after 3+ years of observing his performance, I would bet he gave the go-ahead

    (1) Because he was more afraid of blowback if when word go out that he “pulled a Clinton”, and

    (2) He had already put a scapegoat (William McRaven) in place.

    How much credit does he get for a no-brainer decision?

    Comment by alanstorm — May 1, 2012 @ 2:54 pm - May 1, 2012

  8. Dan, that’s fine but I feel differently.

    Obama’s ball-spiking has a distinct tone of “*I* got bin Ladin” or, if coming from subordinates, “*He* was so courageous!”. No, he wasn’t.

    1) He was safely in Washington,
    2) The actual decision to go was made by someone lower-level. Obama’s order put the responsibility on him, presumably so that Obama could throw him under the bus if things went wrong.

    A recently disclosed memorandum from then-CIA Director Leon Panetta shows that the president’s celebrated derring-do in authorizing the operation included a responsibility-escape clause: “The timing, operational decision making and control are in Admiral McRaven’s hands. The approval is provided on the risk profile presented to the President. Any additional risks are to be brought back to the President for his consideration. The direction is to go in and get bin Laden and if he is not there, to get out.”

    Obama’s ball-spiking is wrong because, in its “I”-oriented nature, it:
    – obscures the facts
    – steals the honor that should go to the troops’ actual bravery
    – and, as I noted at #1, Obama *may* have raised the profile of SEAL Team Six in a way that contributed to their deaths.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — May 1, 2012 @ 2:55 pm - May 1, 2012

  9. (continued) Ask yourself if Bush spiked the ball in quite this way after getting Saddam. (*I* got Saddam… or, if coming from subordinates, *He Bush* was so courageous) Nuh-uh. It’s one thing to gently remind people of good results from your administration’s policies, another to steal others’ glory.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — May 1, 2012 @ 2:58 pm - May 1, 2012

  10. And it gets worse. More from Mukasey’s article:

    …the president does not seem to have addressed at all the possibility of seizing material with intelligence value—which may explain his disclosure immediately following the event not only that bin Laden was killed, but also that a valuable trove of intelligence had been seized, including even the location of al Qaeda safe-houses. That disclosure infuriated the intelligence community because it squandered the opportunity to exploit the intelligence that was the subject of the boast….

    In other words, Obama has spiked the ball *in a way that compromises our national security*. Maybe Obama’s bragging didn’t contribute to the deaths on SEAL Team Six – I don’t know about that, one way or the other – but it threw away a chance to exploit much good intelligence.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — May 1, 2012 @ 3:10 pm - May 1, 2012

  11. Finally, more on the general difference between how Obama spikes a ball, vs. Bush:

    “I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority . . . even as I continued our broader effort. . . . Then, after years of painstaking work by my intelligence community I was briefed . . . I met repeatedly with my national security team . . . And finally last week I determined that I had enough intelligence to take action. . . . Today, at my direction . . .”

    [on] the capture of Saddam Hussein. [Bush] called that success “a tribute to our men and women now serving in Iraq.” He attributed it to “the superb work of intelligence analysts who found the dictator’s footprints in a vast country. The operation was carried out with skill and precision by a brave fighting force. Our servicemen and women and our coalition allies have faced many dangers. . . . Their work continues, and so do the risks.” He did mention himself at the end: “Today, on behalf of the nation, I thank the members of our Armed Forces and I congratulate them.”

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — May 1, 2012 @ 3:13 pm - May 1, 2012

  12. Hi ILC,

    In other words, a cite which in no way supports the point you want to make. But you don’t let that stop you! Oh, no! 🙂 You just use weasel language to try to create an impression that it somehow supports the point you want to make (about Republicans). Very clever. Trouble is, if anyone notices.

    The site is a repository of ads from past political campaigns. I think I will respectfully disagree with you on whether it supports my point or not, given its clear comparison of Bush (positive) with Kerry (negative), whilst using images of the Twin Towers in the immediate aftermath of 9-11, to make its point. Also, you believe that because the ad was not an official GOP ad that it is not a Repub ad. OK. I might buy that argument, except that I suspect that when the inundation of attack ads coming Romney’s way in the Fall (or even now) from “closely associated” Dem leaning super-PACs, many here (and in the political community at large) are not going to be so picky about their language. I suspect that many will just refer to them as “Dem” ads against Romney (perhaps even you?). As for me–I see pro Dem ads as Dem ads, and pro Repub ads as Repub ads. You appear to put great stock in what I see as the fig leaf of “apparent separation” amongst organizations that are “closely associated” with Presidential Administrations, ILC, but that “fig leaf” has no little currency with me.

    Comment by Cas — May 1, 2012 @ 3:50 pm - May 1, 2012

  13. These kinds of ads and campaigns are meaningless… Remember – John Kerry served in Vietnam and all that.

    Now, when this is an actual vet of a recent war campaign, and they are campaigning for a local or state office, I do think this kind of thing caries more weight.

    Comment by sonicfrog — May 1, 2012 @ 5:01 pm - May 1, 2012

  14. And now he’s flown to Afghanistan to make a campaign speech on the anniversary.

    Spiking the ball much?

    Comment by V the K — May 1, 2012 @ 5:51 pm - May 1, 2012

  15. This shows how desparate the Obama camp is. Why are they playing this card so far in advance of the election? American voters seem to have short memories. I am surprised at how soft Obama’s support is at the sidewalk level. A very liberal (and also an African American who is a member of the local D Executive Council) admitted to me last week that she is very disappointed in Obama and although she continues to believe he will win in November , it will be with a much smaller margin. To me, that is tantamount to admitting real concern. His trip to Afghanistan today and his speech tonight seems to be desparate and an attempt to distract the American voters from the real issue…It’s The Economy, Stupid.

    Comment by Mary — May 1, 2012 @ 6:38 pm - May 1, 2012

  16. its clear comparison of Bush (positive) with Kerry (negative)

    Irrelevant. People can support Bush over Kerry, without being Republicans. That is, without speaking for the Bush campaign or for the Republican Party, or for any Republican candidate or official; perhaps even without being registered Republicans.

    You wanted people to think “Republican ad did X.” You do not have an instance of it. So you played the game, “Republican -oriented- ad did X”, to leave an impression of Republican activity without having specifically asserted it (and perhaps be proven wrong on it).

    that “fig leaf” has no little currency with me.

    Translation: You reserve the right to attribute whatever you want to the Republicans, whether or not they did it or had any control over it.

    I thought you always hated it when you think NDT is doing that… but, whatevs. Thanks for clarifying the ‘rules’! 🙂

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — May 1, 2012 @ 6:43 pm - May 1, 2012

  17. […] Didn’t media/Dems get all upset when W used 9/11 photo in his re-election campaign to help Rep… […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Speaking the Osama ball, Obama forgets what team he’s on — May 1, 2012 @ 6:55 pm - May 1, 2012

  18. This will backfire on Obama2012 too.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — May 1, 2012 @ 7:53 pm - May 1, 2012

  19. Hi ILC,
    You might want to look up who did the ad (and their relationship to Repubs)… And, I look forward to your even handed approach when the tidal wave of negative ads from those who support the Dem side come in… 🙂

    Comment by Cas — May 1, 2012 @ 8:10 pm - May 1, 2012

  20. Ah, yes, Cas, you demand that ILC follow rules which you won’t yourself.

    Which is typical. You are a hypocritical partisan bigot, which is why ILC mocks you so easily. 🙂

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — May 1, 2012 @ 10:52 pm - May 1, 2012

  21. I look forward to your even handed approach

    Indeed you might. On my past track record, I might attribute ads from Obama-supporting groups as being from “some lefties”, or the specific group.

    You see, Cas, I won’t need to mis-attribute them to the Obama campaign or the DNC (as you have done here conversely), because what is already coming out of the Obama campaign, is quite bad enough to condemn it.

    Which is part of Dan’s original point. Thus, we come full circle.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — May 2, 2012 @ 1:47 am - May 2, 2012

  22. Hi ILC,
    Our difference of opinion is this: You wish to, in this case, hold to the attribution of an official GOP imprimatur. You are interested in the nominal, in this case. I have no problem with that distinction. But it is not the only one that can be made in this case. I look to see what the real effect of the ad is; who is running it and their relationship to those who might benefit from it; and who will really benefit from it. If the GOP will really benefit from it; is implicated in it; I call it a GOP ad. You dislike this distinction. I can live with that. Cheers.

    Comment by Cas — May 3, 2012 @ 12:52 am - May 3, 2012

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