America, even in times of nationalistic fervor, cannot shake its partisan inclinations. Polls show that Republicans and Democrats are sharply divided over whether former president George W. Bush or President Obama deserves more credit for the death of Osama bin Laden. Political pundits and columnists have argued about the proper allocation of credit for days. Earlier this week, Obama invited Bush to join him at a solemn wreath-laying ceremony at Ground Zero today for a show of bi-partisan, trans-administration unity. Bush declined, citing his desire to stay out of the spotlight. But a “high placed source” gives the Daily News another explanation: He wants more credit.
“He doesn’t feel personally snubbed and appreciates the invitation, but Obama’s claiming all the credit and a lot of other people deserve some of it,” the source added.
Obama has, actually, credited the vital work of the intelligence community, whether under himself or Bush.
• In his address on Sunday night, he said that after 9/11, “we went to war against Al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies. Over the last ten years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort.”
• He added that “last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden.”
• And in a congressional dinner the next night, Obama said, “I want to again recognize the heroes who carried out this incredibly dangerous mission, as well as all the military and counterterrorism professionals who made the mission possible.”
What he hasn’t done, though, is singled out Bush himself.