McCain: Obama 'politicizing' Bin Laden death

Senator responds to a new Obama campaign ad that takes political advantage of the al-Qaeda leader's demise


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 30, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight, tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the Navy SEAL operation that killed al Qaeda chief Usama bin Laden. And now an Obama campaign Web ad is trying to take political advantage of that


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, 2011 (ph).

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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.


O'REILLY: And joining us now from Washington Senator John McCain, who believes that ad is not worthy. So, you know, questioning whether Mitt Romney would have done the same thing, and you say?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I say any president, Jimmy Carter, anybody, any president would have obviously under those circumstances done the same thing. And to now take credit for something that any president would do is indicative of the kind of campaign we're under -- we're seeing.

Let me also point out this is the same president that said the surge wouldn't work in Iraq and did everything to stop it. This is the same president that, when one and a half million people were demonstrating in the streets of Tehran, chanting, "Obama, Obama, are you with us or are you with them?" He refused to say a word on their behalf.

And this is the same president that now 10,000 innocent people have been slaughtered in Syria and he sets up an atrocities board. A board? I'm not making that up. A board on atrocities?

So all I can say is that this is going to be a very rough campaign. And I've had the great honor of serving in the company of heroes. And you know the thing about heroes? They don't brag.

O'REILLY: All right. But is it legitimate to say -- because Vice President Biden said publicly that he would not have ordered the SEAL raid at that point in time. He said no. And there was a downside. You know that being a military person. If the raid had been botched, and it almost was, with one of the helicopters went down. Or bin Laden had not been there and it caused a big thing with Pakistan, as it did, President Obama took a major chance in green lighting that.

And I don't know if it was as easy as everybody thinks it was. Because he had Biden telling him, "Don't do it." So, isn't it legitimate for the president to take a victory lap one year later?

MCCAIN: I think he got great credit and deserved great credit. And by the way, the circumstances were such -- and I give highest praise to the President. But the circumstances are such, especially since they had been there since May, were such that, as I say, any president would have made the same decisions.

O'REILLY: Why didn't Biden, then? Why wouldn't he do it? He had the same intel as the president.

MCCAIN: Biden is the same one that said we should divide Iraq into three countries. Biden is the same one that said Desert Storm would be another Vietnam. Biden has -- has been consistently wrong on every national security issue that I've been involved in in the last 20 years or so. So, I wouldn't use Biden as a bellwether.

But I would use any president of the United States, given that information, would have done the same thing, but I give great credit to the President.

The point is, though, do you use that in political campaigns to attack your opponent? Mitt Romney would have done the exact same thing. I am confident. And any leader would have.

So, to say that Mitt Romney wouldn't have, I mean, is politicizing what -- an event that all Americans applauded enormously.

O'REILLY: OK. I want to bring you back when you have some time in the next couple of weeks. And you know better than everyone what it is like to go up against the Obama reelection people. I mean, you went through it. And I think the debates are going to tell the tale between Romney and the president.

Would you have any advice for Romney right now in a debate situation? Would there be anything that you would tell him to do that perhaps you did not do?

MCCAIN: I think hold the president accountable for his record. The promises and statements and commitments were made about a purple states and no -- hope and change. How's that all been working out?

But I also think it's important -- and Romney is doing this now -- is to tell the American people the positive agenda he has for the future of this country, both at home and abroad.

O'REILLY: And how hard would you go after -- in a debate, how hard would you go after President Obama if you were Mitt Romney? Because you didn't go after him that hard. Would you go after him harder?

MCCAIN: I would go after him harder, because he has a record now to defend that is in direct contradiction to the commitments and the promises that he made in 2008.

O'REILLY: All right. Senator, always a pleasure to talk with you. Thanks for taking the time. We appreciate it.

MCCAIN: Thanks, Bill.

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