* Says Obama deserves credit, but...
* Bin Laden death dominates campaign trail
* Obama arrives in Afghanistan
By Sam Youngman
NEW YORK, May 1 Republican Mitt Romney accused
Barack Obama of politicizing the killing of Osama bin Laden,
while the U.S. president flew to Afghanistan on the first
anniversary of the daring raid.
Although overshadowed by Obama's unannounced trip, Romney
staged some Sept. 11 symbolism of his own, eating pizza with
firefighters and former mayor Rudy Giuliani at a Manhattan
firehouse that lost 11 firefighters in the 2001 attacks.
The former Massachusetts governor tried for the second day
to push back against claims by the Obama camp that he might not
have given the order to kill bin Laden if he had been president.
"I think it was very disappointing for the president to make
this a political item by suggesting that I wouldn't have ordered
such a raid. Of course I would have. Any American, any thinking
American, would have ordered exactly the same thing," Romney
told CBS' "This Morning."
Later, he told reporters, "Had I been president of the
United States, I would have made the same decision as the
Around the time Romney spoke, Obama was landing secretly in
Afghanistan's Bagram Air Base before visiting Kabul. He was to
deliver a televised address to Americans on Tuesday, in remarks
to remind voters of his presidential clout.
Obama backers are quick to point to remarks Romney made in
his 2008 race for president when then-candidate Obama said he
would go after "high-value terrorist targets" within Pakistan
with or without the approval of Pakistan's president.
Romney at the time said he did not agree, and refused on
Tuesday to back off those comments.
"It was a very, if you will, fragile and flammable time in
Pakistan, but I thought it was a mistake for (Obama), as a
candidate for the presidency of the United States, to announce
that he would go in," Romney said in New York.
He acknowledged earlier that Obama "has every right to take
credit for commanding that attack" that killed bin Laden.
Both sides are engaging in brutal campaign tactics to try to
get a leg up on the other in a race that is already close and
figures to be for the next six months until the Nov. 6 election,
when voters will decide whether to give Obama a second term or
install former businessman Romney.
The Obama campaign opened a new front with a television ad
to run in the battleground states of Virginia, Ohio and Iowa.
It accuses Romney, a former private equity executive, of
backing policies that would lead to the outsourcing of American
"As a corporate CEO, he shipped American jobs to places like
Mexico and China," the ad's voiceover says.
In response, the Romney campaign accused Obama of seeking to
take attention away from the president's handling of the U.S.
economy, still struggling with 8.2 percent unemployment.
"With the worst job creation record in modern history and
the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression,
President Obama is trying to distract Americans from the real
issues with a series of sideshows," said Romney spokeswoman
The Obama campaign is seeking to raise doubts about how
Romney would deal with the U.S. economy, faced with polls
showing Americans believe Romney would handle economic affairs
better than the president.
Where Romney lags Obama is on personal likability, a point
that his wife, Ann Romney, attempted to address in the CBS
"He's funny," she said. "I still look at him as this, this
is the boy that I met, in high school, when he was pulling all
the jokes, and really just being crazy. Pretty crazy. So there's
a wild and crazy man inside of him ... just waiting to come
out," Ann Romney said.
Romney, seeking to bolster ties among conservatives who were
suspicious of him throughout a long primary battle, is to meet
with his last major conservative challenger, Rick Santorum, on
Friday but an endorsement is not expected.
Another rival, former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker
Newt Gingrich, is to formally withdraw from the race on
Romney met New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday,
sources close to both men said, in what may be a bid by the
presumptive nominee to seek the popular mayor's endorsement.