President Barack Obama:“Governor, the problem is that on a whole range of issues, whether it’s the Middle East, whether it’s Afghanistan, whether it’s Iraq, whether it’s now Iran, you’ve been all over the map. I mean, I’m pleased that you now are endorsing our policy of applying diplomatic pressure and potentially having bilateral discussions with the Iranians to end their nuclear program, but just a few years ago you said that’s something you would never do in the same way that you initially opposed a timetable in Afghanistan. Now you’re for it, although it depends. In the same way that you say you would have ended the war in Iraq, but recently gave a speech saying that we should have 20,000 more folks in there. The same way that you said that it was mission creep to go after Qadhafi, when it comes to going after Osama bin Laden, when you were a candidate in 2008, I said if I had bin Laden in our view, I would take a shot.
“You said we should ask Pakistan for permission. If we asked Pakistan for permission, we would not have gotten it. It was worth moving heaven and earth to get him.
“I was at Ground Zero for a memorial and talked to a young woman who was four years old when 9/11 happened, and the last conversation she had with her father was him calling from the twin towers, saying I love you, and I will always watch over you. And for the next decade she was haunted by that conversation, and she said to me, you know, by finally getting bin Laden, that brought some closure to her. When we do things like that, when we bring those who have harmed us to justice, that sends a message to the world, and it tells that young lady that we did not forget her father. I make that point because that’s the kind of clarity of leadership and those decisions are not always popular, those decisions generally are not poll tested, and even some in my own party, including my current vice president had the same critique as you did. But what the American people understand is that I look at what we need to get done to keep the American people safe and to move our interests forward, and I make those decisions.”