IF CANTOR REALLY WANTS TO GO THERE…. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), shortly after President Obama’s remarks on Osama bin Laden, issued a related statement. It included this gem:
“I commend President Obama who has followed the vigilance of President Bush in bringing Bin Laden to justice.”
There’s a fair amount of this rhetoric bouncing around this morning, and it’s not especially surprising — Republicans aren’t going to credit President Obama, regardless of merit, so it stands to reason they’ll try to bring George W. Bush into the picture.
If this is going to be a new GOP talking point, we might as well set the record straight.
In March 2002, just six months after 9/11, Bush said of bin Laden, “I truly am not that concerned about him…. You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him, to be honest with you.”
In July 2006, we learned that the Bush administration closed its unit that had been hunting bin Laden.
In September 2006, Bush told Fred Barnes, one of his most sycophantic media allies, that an “emphasis on bin Laden doesn’t fit with the administration’s strategy for combating terrorism.”
And don’t even get me started on Bush’s failed strategy that allowed bin Laden to escape from Tora Bora.
I’m happy to extend plenty of credit to all kinds of officials throughout the government, but crediting Bush’s “vigilance” on bin Laden is deeply silly.
Update: Donald Rumsfeld added this morning that Obama “wisely” followed Bush’s lead. He either has a very short memory, or he’s lying and hopes you have a very short memory.