Asked on a rope line if he would have "gone after" Osama bin Laden, if he would have "given the order," presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney responded, "Of course, of course. Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order."
The former President Carter, of course, did undertake a risky hostage rescue attempt in Iran in 1980 that failed -- and cost Carter dearly politically. It sealed an image of a weak president. That coupled with a weak economy, ultimately led to Ronald Reagan's landslide victory.
If the bin Laden raid had failed in similar fashion, Republicans would have surely portrayed President Obama in the same way.
Romney and the GOP have tried to paint Obama as a Jimmy Carter caricature, anyway, weak and inept. Reports have indicated, however, that the call to undertake the raid was not with 100 percent certainty. Intelligence, White House officials said, was thought to be about 50-50 that bin Laden was in the compound.
"At the end of the day, the president assessed that it was a circumstantial case, and it was probably a 50-50 chance that Osama bin Laden was there," said Tom Donilon, National Security Adviser, last year following the raid.
Vice President Joe Biden has said he advised Obama against going through with the raid.
The Obama campaign has questioned whether Romney would have given the order. In a video released Friday, a graphic asks, "Which path would Mitt Romney have taken?” the ad asks. It highlights this Romney quote: “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.”
Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs defended the video on Meet the Press on Sunday, saying, "I don’t think it’s clear that he would" have ordered the raid.
Ed Gillespie, an adviser to the Romney campaign and former Bush adviser, though, said: “This is one of the reasons President Obama has become one of the most divisive presidents in American history. He took something that was a unifying event … and he’s managed to turn it into a divisive, partisan, political attack. … I think most Americans will see it as a sign of a desperate campaign.”
The Obama campaign posted a video called, "Forward," that highlights his record in the past three years, including again touting the killing of bin Laden. The video will be played ahead of the president's first "official" campaign events -- in Virginia and Ohio.