Obama uses Bill Clinton to play Laden card
AFP WASHINGTON POPULAR ex-president Bill Clinton praises President Barack Obama for taking a tough and “honourable” decision to kill Osama bin Laden in a new clip from his soon-to-be released campaign film The movie lionizes Obama for tough decisions on economic and national security issues during his three-year presidency, and represents the latest attempt to secure a political dividend for killing the Al Qaeda leader.
“He took the harder, and the more honourable path,” Clinton said in the latest excerpt from the film The Road We’ve Traveled released by the president’s campaign.
“When I saw what had happened, I thought to myself, ‘I hope that’s the call I would’ve made.’” Obama ordered the high risk Navy SEALS raid deep into Pakistan last year which ended the huge manhunt for bin Laden, and closed a chapter on the traumatic period of US history following the September 11 attacks in 2001.
He was given a number of options for taking out bin Laden, including a missile strike, but chose the risker special forces raid on the Al- Qaeda kingpin’s hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
The movie, to be released on Thursday is narrated by Tom Hanks and made by Academy Award winning director Davis Guggenheim, and seeks to place the daily struggles and bitter partisan fights of his presidency in a larger context.
Republicans ridiculed Obama when Guggenheim said in an interview on CNN that he couldn’t find anything negative about the president to include in the film.
The Politico website has reported that Clinton, the first Democratic president to win a second four-year term since Franklin Roosevelt, has agreed to attend a string of fundraisers and campaign events for Obama.
The two men had a tricky relationship during the Democratic primary campaign in 2008 in which Clinton was an outspoken and energetic advocate for his wife Hillary Clinton, who lost the party nod to Obama.
But ever since, Clinton has appeared with the president several times, and given his widespread popularity and political skills, could be an important asset for Obama as he seeks reelection in November.
Meanwhile, in a related development, with Obama’s election chances being damaged by rising gasoline prices, the White House released a report on Monday showing progress in weaning America off foreign oil. The report says the United States cut imports of oil from abroad by 10 percent last year, and also touts a rise in domestic production, new energy efficiency standards for cars and renewable energy projects.
The White House effort came as a new Washington Post/ABC News poll said Obama’s recent gains in popularity were being undermined by rising gasoline prices, despite more positive news from the jobs market.
In the poll, Obama’s approval rating had slipped to 46 percent, down from 50 percent a month ago.
Two-thirds of those asked said they disapproved with the way Obama was handling rising pump prices which now average nearly four dollars a gallon (3.8 liters).
Obama has repeatedly acknowledged that the rising price of gasoline is causing new pain for many American families still hurting following the deepest recession since the Great Depression, but says there is no “quick fix.” The administration argues that the price hikes are cyclical, and say the president has limited power to impact prices, though Obama is calling for an end to subsidies to big oil firms that are making huge profits while prices rise.
“The president clearly understands the impact that high gas prices have on middle class families,” a White House official said.
The high fuel costs and subsequent Republican attacks are emerging as a new threat to Obama as he seeks to ride improving economic conditions to a second White House term in November’s election.
The new report says that domestic oil and gas production is booming, despite Republican claims that Obama has done too little to expand domestic supplies and is bent on making oil uncompetitive to boost new energy sources.
It says US oil imports were cut by 10 percent — or one million barrels — in the last year, an improvement the White House says is down to “booming” domestic oil production and new energy efficiency standards for cars and trucks.
The report says that domestic oil and gas production is at the highest level in a decade while improved energy efficiency measures funded by the administration in over a million homes is also cutting energy use.