President Obama blasted Mitt Romney at the foreign policy debate, for on the one hand giving him no credit on the killing of Osama bin Laden — and for Romney himself having said during the 2008 campaign that neutralizing Bin Laden should not be a priority.
"When it comes to going after Osama bin Laden, you said, well, any president would make that call," Obama said. "When you were a candidate in 2008 as I was — and I said if I got Osama bin Laden in our sights, I would take that shot. You said we shouldn't 'move Heaven and Earth to get one man,' and you said we should ask Pakistan for permission. If we had asked Pakistan for permission, we would not have gotten him. It was worth moving Heaven and Earth to get him.
"After we killed Bin Laden I was at Ground Zero for a memorial and talked of a young woman who was four years old when 9/11 happened. And the last conversation she had with her father was him calling from the Twin Towers saying, 'Peyton, I love you, and I will always watch over you.' And for the next decade she was haunted by that conversation. And she said to me, you know, 'by finally getting Bin Laden, that brought closure to me. When we do things like that, that sends a message to the world, and tells Peyton that we did not forget her father.
And I make that point because that's the kind of clarity of leadership, and those decisions are not always popular. Those decisions generally are not poll-tested. And even some in my own party, including my current vice president, have the same critique as you did. But what the American people understand is that I look at what we need to get done to keep the American people safe and to move our interests forward, and I make those decisions."