`Obama not politicising bin Laden’s anniversary`
Washington: Barack Obama`s top advisor on terrorism brushed aside criticism by the President`s political opponents that he has exploited this week`s one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden`s killing for political gain.
"I don`t do politics. I don`t do the campaign. I am not a Democrat or Republican," said chief White House counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan.
"All that I know is that the President made the decision when he was given the opportunity to take a gutsy decision, to carry out that raid with our special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan," Brennan told ABC television`s "This Week" programme.
"The President made that decision. I think the American people are, you know, clearly very appreciative and supportive of that decision. We`re safer today as a result," he said.
Brennan noted that Obama took the decision to go forward with the raid against the advice of some of his most senior advisors who had reservations about the operation, which was fraught with peril for the Navy Seals sent into Pakistan to carry it out in the dead of night.
Obama`s campaign last week released a video to mark the anniversary and suggested that Osama bin Laden might be alive today had Republicans` soon-to-be presidential nominee Mitt Romney been in the White House.
US Senator John McCain, who lost to Obama in the 2008 Presidential Election and who remains one of the President`s most dogged critics, said last week that the advertisement politicised an issue that ought become fodder for November`s presidential campaign.
"Shame on Barack Obama for diminishing the memory of September 11th and the killing of Osama bin Laden by turning into it a cheap political attack ad," he said.
"He`s doing a shameless end zone dance to help get himself re-elected. No one disputes that the President deserves credit for ordering the raid, but to politicise it in this way is the height of hypocrisy."
In the upcoming presidential campaign, Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, is seeking to unseat the Democratic incumbent Obama, mostly for what he says has been faulty stewardship of the economy. But like McCain he also criticises the President`s handling of military and security matters.
Obama campaign advisor Robert Gibbs meanwhile told NBC television that the success campaign to hunt down and kill bin Laden was "fair game" on the campaign trail.
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