Obama campaign politicizes Usama bin Laden's death

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," April 27, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

TUCKER CARLSON, GUEST HOST: President Obama has shown he's willing to politicize student loans, contraception, the Trayvon Martin shooting, virtually anything else he finds politically expedient. So, it's not surprising that the Obama campaign has released a new video, praising our brave president for ordering that strike that killed Usama bin Laden. But at the same time, that ad -- which is narrated by former President Bill Clinton -- suggests that Mitt Romney would not have made the same decision. Watch this.


FMR. PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Look, he knew what would happen. Suppose the Navy SEALs had gone in there and it hadn't been bin Laden. Suppose they had been captured or killed, the downside would have been horrible for him. But he reasoned. I cannot in good conscience do nothing. He took the harder and the more honorable path and the one that produced, in my opinion, the best result.

GRAPHIC: Which path would Mitt Romney have taken? Mitt Romney criticized Barack Obama for vowing to strike Al Qaeda targets inside Pakistan if necessary. - Reuters, August 4, 2007

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It's not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person. He was referring to the hunt for Usama bin Laden.

CLINTON: He had to decide. And that's what you hire a president to do. You hire the president to make the calls when no one else can do it.


CARLSON: The Obama campaign asked President Clinton to star in this ad, and that's ironic, considering that according to the 9/11 commission, Clinton took a pass on at least three opportunities to kill or capture bin Laden when he was president. You also remember that back in 2008, Obama criticized Hillary Clinton for politicizing National Security matters, including the hunt for Usama bin Laden.

Joining me with reaction is syndicated columnist, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer. Charles, thanks for coming on.


CARLSON: So you heard our last segment with Frank Luntz, who suggested that the next six months is just going to be an avalanche of negative ads, you watched a lot of campaigns. Have the ads gotten more negative do you think?

KRAUTHAMMER: Oh, yes. I think it's become completely negative. And I think, I mean, I said somewhere else once that, you know, this campaign's going to be so dirty that my advice is hide the children and hire a plumber because you are going to have to shower several times a day. This is total negativity. People, you know, often ask me, why is it that Congress, Washington, in general, is held in such low esteem by the population? They're about nine percent approval. You know, Qaddafi country. And you know, I say, it's not because they are lying, thieving hypocrites. That's not enough of an explanation. I think the other part of it is, that American politics is the only enterprise, the only industry in this country where people spend millions of dollars on negative ads against each other.

Imagine if you had negative ads in airlines, you know, instead of flying the friendly skies of the United, they show the scene of a plane crash and they say, you want to die, fly Delta. I can assure you that if you have two weeks of those kinds of ads, two weeks of that, not a year and a half of that, if you had go to Disney World from L.A., you would pack the car. Nobody would go near an airplane.

And this is the relentless, you know, every two years, Americans watch hundreds of ads describing the other guys, which means everybody, as the worst, you know, the lowest human being and they're shocked and surprised that people hold politicians in low- esteem.

CARLSON: That is a fantastic point. They are hurting the brand I guess is what you are saying, the brand of politics.


CARLSON: So, to give you an example of the reason that people hold these folks in pretty low regard, there was a famous ad you remember of course from 2008, in which Hillary Clinton said of her primary opponent Barack Obama, in effect, he's not ready.


CARLSON: Major foreign policy decisions the president has to make and he's not up to them. She included in a montage of photographs, Usama bin Laden's image. This was the Obama campaign's response to that ad and I'm quoting. "It's ironic, she, Hillary Clinton, would borrow the president's tactics in her own campaign and invoke bin Laden to score political points. We already have a president who plays the politics of fear."

Well, I guess, the politics of fear, you know, is in the eyes of the beholder, because here, the current president, the man who issued the statement is doing exactly the same thing. Is he not?

KRAUTHAMMER: He is. Although I might say, I make a distinction here between the two parts of that ad you showed about Usama bin Laden. Look, you can run a positive ad saying, here's the president, he had a tough decision to make. He made it. He risked a lot and he succeeded. Perfectly legitimate and that's not really to politicize, this is a real historical event. He took a risk. Fine.

What really sours that ad and I think we'll probably have a negative effect on the viewer, negative towards Obama, is the sliming of Romney at the same time. There was no reason to make it a negative ad.

First of all, does anybody really believe, does anybody who had been in the Oval Office who would have had all of that information, knowing that we can get the guy, we have the information, it's likely to be true and that we could actually get him, and not make of that decision? I am not sure people assume that the president would not.

Second, when they -- when they try to draw the conclusion that Romney would not have approved, what do they do? You don't have a direct quote from Romney. And that's what you get used to in this ads. You sort of expect to hear it from his mouth. You hear sort of something obliquely, referring to it by a newsman. And to imply that Romney, who actually had a case, when he said, look, you can kill the guy, it's important to do, that's fine, but that's not the end of the War on Terror. And when you kill him, there will going to be another guy behind him. And everybody understands that is true. It's not the end of the War on Terror. It was kind of an exhilarating sense of, if you like revenge or at least relief when he was killed. But the war continues, if not in Afghanistan, the war continues in Yemen, in Somalia.

So, what Romney was saying, it was a legitimate point. And I think by turning it negative against him, by making an assumption that is entirely unwarranted, he would not have done it. I think the ad works against itself to some extent.

CARLSON: So, what do you make exactly of the recruitment of Bill Clinton to do the voiceover for this ad, considering you know, his record on Usama bin Laden is something that all the Clinton people are embarrassed of, I think it's ignoble. Certainly hard to defend. Why him?

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, of course, you know, I am sure it's all done by focus groups. He's a popular guy. People like ex-presidents, generally speaking. But -- and there are not that many people who know that in 1996, when Sudan expelled Usama bin Laden, they offered him the to United States. At least, that is what is flatly stated in the book, "The Looming Tower" by Lawrence Wright, winner of the Pulitzer Prize which is a history of Al Qaeda. And he says, the defense minister of Sudan offered the Clinton administration Usama Bin Laden and President Clinton himself in 2002 said that we did not take him because we didn't have enough evidence to hold him, the FBI didn't have enough evidence to indict him, which is a way to look at, you know, how the Clinton administration totally misread and misunderstood the War on Terror, as if it was a matter of law enforcement instead of a war. Now, there was some dispute over whether it was a real offer or not. But at least Lawrence Wright has no question in his mind that it was. So, it is ironic that the man who let him go, we could have had him in our prison and held him forever, is the man who's doing the voiceover on an ad about the killing of Usama bin Laden.

CARLSON: We need to make up a new word actually, takes an awful lot of brass. Charles Krauthammer, thanks very much for coming on. I appreciate it.

KRAUTHAMMER: You're welcome.

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