After the initial reaction dies down, does the death of Osama Bin Laden at the hands of United States commandos help the flagging Obama administration?

Could this be the foreign policy victory he needs to jump start his reelection campaign?

What say you people out there in PD land?


  • Brian

    Viral news — Interesting stuff. You can’t make this up:

    Are you Serious says: May 8, 2011 at 9:28 pm
    Attached is an “unsourced” report from a “White House Insider” that paints an interesting (to say the least!) picture of how the decision to take Osama Bin Laden was actually made. The photograph to which reference is made has been widely published, and was released by the White House itself.
    Q: You stated that President Obama was “overruled” by military/intelligence officials regarding the decision to send in military specialists into the Osama Bin Laden compound. Was that accurate?

    A: I was told – in these exact terms, “we overruled him.” (Obama) I have since followed up and received further details on exactly what that meant, as well as the specifics of how Leon Panetta worked around the president’s “persistent hesitation to act.” There appears NOT to have been an outright overruling of any specific position by President Obama, simply because there was no specific position from the president to do so. President Obama was, in this case, as in all others, working as an absentee president.

    I was correct in stating there had been a push to invade the compound for several weeks if not months, primarily led by Leon Panetta, Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, David Petraeus, and Jim Clapper. The primary opposition to this plan originated from Valerie Jarrett, and it was her opposition that was enough to create uncertainty within President Obama. Obama would meet with various components of the pro-invasion faction, almost always with Jarrett present, and then often fail to indicate his position.

    This situation continued for some time, though the division between Jarrett/Obama and the rest intensified more recently, most notably from Hillary Clinton. She was livid over the president’s failure to act, and her office began a campaign of anonymous leaks to the media indicating such. As for Jarrett, her concern rested on two primary fronts. One, that the military action could fail and harm the president’s already weakened standing with both the American public and the world. Second, that the attack would be viewed as an act of aggression against Muslims, and further destabilize conditions in the Middle East.

    Q: What changed the president’s position and enabled the attack against Osama Bin Laden to proceed?

    A: Nothing changed with the president’s opinion – he continued to avoid having one. Every time military and intelligence officials appeared to make progress in forming a position, Jarrett would intervene and the stalling would begin again. Hillary started the ball really rolling as far as pressuring Obama began, but it was Panetta and Petraeus who ultimately pushed Obama to finally act – sort of. Panetta was receiving significant reports from both his direct CIA sources, as well as Petraeus-originating Intel. Petraeus was threatening to act on his own via a bombing attack. Panetta reported back to the president that a bombing of the compound would result in successful killing of Osama Bin Laden, and little risk to American lives.

    Initially, as he had done before, the president indicated a willingness to act. But once again, Jarrett intervened, convincing the president that innocent Pakistani lives could be lost in such a bombing attack, and Obama would be left attempting to explain Panetta’s failed policy. Again Obama hesitated – this time openly delaying further meetings to discuss the issue with Panetta. A brief meeting was held at this time with other officials, including Secretary Gates and members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but Gates, like Panetta, was unable to push the president to act. It was at this time that Gates indicated to certain Pentagon officials that he may resign earlier than originally indicated – he was that frustrated. Both Panetta and Clinton convinced him to stay on and see the operation through.
    ????????????????????????????????????????????? ?????
    What happened from there is what was described by me as a “masterful manipulation” by Leon Panetta. Panetta indicated to Obama that leaks regarding knowledge of Osama Bin Laden’s location were certain to get out sooner rather than later, and action must be taken by the administration or the public backlash to the president’s inaction would be “…significant to the point of political debilitation.” It was at that time that Obama stated an on-ground campaign would be far more acceptable to him than a bombing raid. This was intended as a stalling tactic, and it had originated from Jarrett. Such a campaign would take both time, and present a far greater risk of failure. The president had been instructed by Jarrett to inform Mr. Panetta that he would have sole discretion to act against the Osama Bin Laden compound. Jarrett believed this would further delay Panetta from acting, as the responsibility for failure would then fall almost entirely on him.

    What Valerie Jarrett, and the president, did not know is that Leon Panetta had already initiated a program that reported to him – and only him – involving a covert on the ground attack against the compound. Basically, the whole damn operation was already ready to go – including the specific team support Intel necessary to engage the enemy within hours of being given notice. Panetta then made plans to proceed with an on-ground assault. This information reached either Hillary Clinton or Robert Gates first (likely via military contacts directly associated with the impending mission) who then informed the other. Those two then met with Panetta, who informed each of them he had been given the authority by the president to proceed with a mission if the opportunity presented itself. Both Gates and Clinton warned Panetta of the implications of that authority – namely he was possibly being made into a scapegoat. Panetta admitted that possibility, but felt the opportunity to get Bin Laden outweighed that risk. During that meeting, Hillary Clinton was first to pledge her full support for Panetta, indicating she would defend him if necessary. Similar support was then followed by Gates.

    The following day, and with Panetta’s permission, Clinton met in private with Bill Daley and urged him to get the president’s full and open approval of the Panetta plan. Daley agreed such approval would be of great benefit to the action, and instructed Clinton to delay proceeding until he had secured that approval. Daley contacted Clinton within hours of their meeting indicating Jarrett refused to allow the president to give that approval. Daley then informed Clinton that he too would fully support Panetta in his actions, even if it meant disclosing the president’s indecision to the American public should that action fail to produce a successful conclusion. Clinton took that message back to Panetta and the CIA director initiated the 48 hour engagement order. At this point, the President of the United States was not informed of the engagement order – it did not originate from him, and for several hours after the order had been given and the special ops forces were preparing for action into Pakistan from their position in Afghanistan, Daley successfully kept Obama and Jarrett insulated from that order.

    This insulation ended at some point with an abort order that I believe originated from Valerie Jarrett’s office, and was then followed up by President Obama. This abort order was later explained as a delay due to weather conditions, but the actual conditions at that time would have been acceptable for the mission. A storm system had been in the area earlier, but was no longer an issue. Check the data yourself to confirm. Jarrett, having been caught off guard, was now scrambling to determine who had initiated the plan. She was furious, repeating the acronym “CoC” and saying it was not being followed. This is where Bill Daley intervened directly. The particulars of that intervention are not clear to me beyond knowing he did meet with Jarrett in his office and following that meeting, Valerie Jarrett was not seen in the West Wing for some time, and apparently no longer offered up any resistance to the Osama Bin Laden mission.

    What did follow from there was one or more brief meetings between Bill Daley, Hillary Clinton, a representative from Robert Gates’ office, a representative from Leon Panetta’s office, and a representative from Jim Clapper’s office. I have to assume that these meetings were in essence, detailing the move to proceed with the operation against the Osama Bin Laden compound. I have been told by more than one source that Leon Panetta was directing the operation with both his own CIA operatives, as well as direct contacts with military – both entities were reporting to Panetta only at this point, and not the President of the United States. There was not going to be another delay as had happened 24 hour earlier.

    The operation was at this time effectively unknown to President Barack Obama or Valerie Jarrett and it remained that way until AFTER it had already been initiated. President Obama was literally pulled from a golf outing and escorted back to the White House to be informed of the mission. Upon his arrival there was a briefing held which included Bill Daley, John Brennan, and a high ranking member of the military. When Obama emerged from the briefing, he was described as looking “very confused and uncertain.” The president was then placed in the situation room where several of the players in this event had already been watching the operation unfold.

    Another interesting tidbit regarding this is that the Vice President was already “up to speed” on the operation. A source indicated they believe Hillary Clinton had personally made certain the Vice President was made aware of that day’s events before the president was. The now famous photo released shows the particulars of that of that room and its occupants. What that photo does not communicate directly is that the military personnel present in that room during the operation unfolding, deferred to either Hillary Clinton or Robert Gates. The president’s role was minimal, including their acknowledging of his presence in the room.

    At the conclusion of the mission, after it had been repeatedly confirmed a success, President Obama was once again briefed behind closed doors. The only ones who went in that room besides the president were Bill Daley, John Brennan, and a third individual whose identity remains unknown to me. When leaving this briefing, the president came out of it “…much more confident. Much more certain of himself.” He was also carrying papers in his hand that quite possibly was the address to the nation given later that evening on the Bin Laden mission. The president did not have those papers with him prior to that briefing. The president then returned to the war room, where by this time, Leon Panetta had personally arrived and was receiving congratulations from all who were present.

    In my initial communication to you of these events I described what unfolded as a temporary Coup initiated by high ranking intelligence and military officials. I stand by that term. These figures worked around the uncertainty of President Obama and the repeated resistance of Valerie Jarrett. If they had not been willing to do so, I am certain Osama Bin Laden would still be alive today. There will be no punishment to those who acted outside the authority of the president’s office. The president cannot afford to admit such a fact. What will be most interesting from here is to now see what becomes of Valerie Jarrett. One source indicated she is threatening resignation. I find that unlikely given my strong belief she needs the protection afforded her by the Oval Office and its immense powers to delay and eventually terminate investigations back in Chicago, but we shall see.

    Stay safe.

  • Stephen Meehan

    Obviously it helps Obama in the short term. People who study races for a living call it a “Rally ’round the Flag” boost. It is almost always short-lived; as in less than 3 months (something extreme like 9/11 would result in a longer bump, but this will not).
    I think Obama gets a smaller, unique boost from this, which may be longer lived, because of the reasons Brian H. pointed out. Once the “Rally” boost fades, some people may remain supportive because this accomplishment represents a few things many non-Obama supporters doubted about Obama. Surely ardent Conservatives aren’t going to vote for him, but the “middle 20″ guy who doubted his leadership, decision making, foreign policy and experience may have just been convinced, rightly or wrongly.

  • German Observer

    Regarding the initial question, if this would help Obama: in the short run definetly yes. This is obvious.

    The crucial question is, if it would help him with regard to 2012. And there the answer is again: yes, it will. Not in the sense, that he may say in October of the next year “hey remember, what happened in May ’11?” – hoping th receive the reward in form of votes”. This will not play a major role then. But it will help in the respect to shape him as a leader who is capable of taking decisions and guard/allow/steer difficult operations. As there obviously some doubt about Obamas ability to handle crises and act with decisiveness (remember the clasic 3 a clock red phone call spot?), these doubts should diminish to a significant extend.

    Anyway, this is a two-edged sword. The possibility of a new major terror attack certainly increased with today’s success. If that would happen, the elimination of OBL would backfire and lower Obamas chances for reelection.

    • Brian H

      Very very much agreed. Obama is a man who has lacked credibility in his ability to make decisions. Unfortunately for Obama, and America, his administration did not end on May, 1, 2011, and his chances and opportunities to make bad decisions still exists.

      You are also right about the two-edged sword. But like open heart surgery to fix a bad a heart, sometimes you have to take the risk to continue living. UBL had to go…and he did… Hell.

    • Troy La Mana

      Yes, I think this makes The Obamanation 1 – 10 so far.

  • Alaina

    Obama will undoubtedly get a bump in the polls, but we need to keep perspective… Bush didn’t pull Saddam out of the fox hole and Obama didn’t gather the intelligence or fire the shot that killed Bin Laden. We should thank Bush and Obama for creating the conditions in which we were able to capture and kill these men, but the credit should go to our military and the intelligence community. I heard the Navy SEALS that went in had helicopter problems going in to the compound and when given the option to abort the mission (because they might not be able to get out), they continued. No one made that decision but them and had they changed their minds, it could have been years before we found Bin Laden again. They deserve full credit… not this or any other President.

    I too was irrated with Obama’s speech. He focused too much time on himself and the decisions that he made, not the courage and bravery of our troops.

    In the end, timing is everything and I think we’re way too far out from an election for it to make much of a difference.

  • rjlf

    I think it is too early to tell if the death of Osama bin Laden will help Obama in the long term.

    I seem to recall a president named George H.W. Bush who had the highest poll ratings of any president in history when Saddam was run out of Kuwait. But then, that same George H.W. Bush went down in defeat to ole “Slick Willy” Clinton.

    To be sure, the liberal press will pour the praise on Obama.

    However, let’s face it. Obama didn’t really have to make a difficult decision. His men informed him, “We know where Osama bin Laden is!” Obama then said, “Okay, kill him!” It didn’t take a rocket scientist to make the decision, and rest assured Obama was not the mastermind behind the attack on Osama’s compound in Pakistan.

    I think now that we should bomb the hell out of Pakistan for protecting Osama bin Laden since 2005!

    • Rob

      Yeah, that’s just what we need. More bombing and war. God some of you people…

      • Brian H

        NO…just Brian H here, but thanks for the comparison.

      • Jerry Fulton

        I didn’t say a thing about war Rob. I said that we should bomb the hell out of Pakistan. There won’t be war if you do it right–just annihilation. While our guys are serving justice to terrorists, I guess you can go sit around a campfire and sing hippie peace songs. There is a time for war and a time for peace. Until all terrorists are captured or killed… No justice, no peace!

  • Gary Russell

    Blind squirrels and stopped clocks…
    Osama got careless.
    Obama got lucky.
    America gets closure.
    Whoever gets the credit, its a good thing.

    • Brian H

      I agree with you, Gary.

      I also believe Obama deserves some real credit here.

      Obama has shown himself to be a “leader” that is timid to make decisions (Iran, Oil spill, Libya, etc.), or, too quick to make the right decision for which he has to do damage control (Gitmo, KSM, Shirley Cherrod, Cambridge police, etc.).

      In this case he could not have played his hand any better. He gave the order, kept it secret, got out of the way, and gave the appropriate response.

      Do I wish that “W” would have gotten his man? Yes. But, America has been well served by the foundations Bush left behind. Obama could have dismantled what Bush put in place, and, although he tried with Gitmo and KSM, cooler and wiser heads prevailed.

      Again. For Americas sake I hope Obama can continue to make such wise and appropriate decisions.

  • Rusty Shackleford

    Wasn’t Bush 1 hovering around 90% approval rating after invading Iraq…..It’s the economy stupid. That said, this is still a very good day.

  • GTL

    It would be huge if it happened in October. But it didn’t and unemployment and gas prices will still be way high..

  • Brian H

    This was a grand slam for Obama, and America. We want our elected leaders to the right thing regardless of an R or D next to their name. In this case Obama 100% did the right thing and should be given the tremendous credit he deserves. If I am gonna bash him when he screws up (which is often) I need to stand with him when he right.

    5 things that make this a grand slam for Obama.

    1. It worked.

    2. It was decisive. Something this man does not do too often. No endless hand ringing here.

    3. He didn’t have to reverse his prior decision.

    4. Leadership. He acted “unilaterally” and it was the right thing to do.

    5. He owned it. His public response last night demonstrated a sense of American exceptionalism. He acted for the first time as a Commander in Chief.

    I hope whatever virus infected Obama this weekend is incurable and contagious. He needs it to last, and so does America.

  • Joe W

    I understand Trump has a team of divers on standby.

    • David Kaiser, Editor

      Now *that* is hilarious.

      Great post Joe!

  • Jason Wright, Editor

    It doesn’t guarantee O’s reelection, but it does give him a bump and a nice boost as his campaign kicks off.

    I think there is danger in his team taking too much credit. Politically, they’re smarter to let it happen organically.

    His statement last night was awfully close to the line, in my opinion.

    • Brian H

      100% Agreed.

      Can we also all admit the the “enhanced interrogation” of KSM worked. I think that debate should be over, as well.

  • David Kaiser, Editor

    “I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.” ~Mark Twain

  • Cordeiro

    As with any election calculation, timing is everything. I think this event, greatly anticipated though it may have been, is too far from election day to be a major factor in the effort to re-elect The One. By the time November 2012 rolls around, the fact that Binny Laden now sleeps with the fishes will be old news.

    I, for one, take solace in knowing the last thing Binny Laden saw in this life was the gun barrel of a US Navy SEAL. Good shooting, boys.

  • Troy La Mana

    This, to me, isn’t as big a story as it would have been 4 years ago. OBL was no longer a player, as far as we knew. Taking him out did nothing strategically, only that we finally took him out.

    Obama will probably get a small bump for the new couple of weeks but that is it. It is a non-factor in the 2012 elections.

  • WilliamK

    No it does not “help” his standing, but it does help distract from the economic news that the dollar has become weaker, that many nations and major companies are not buying any more US bonds, that inflation is up (well only if you eat, drive or live in a home, other wise it is flat), that unemployment is still very high, etc.

    But hey, here is a birth certificate and a photo of a body that was dumped in the ocean. Don’t pay attention to the bad economic news behind the curtain.

  • Jason Wright, Editor

    Whether fair or not, Obama will absolutely get a poll bump from this. No doubt about it.