Give the guy some credit

“It’s 3 a.m., and your children are safe and asleep. But there’s a phone ringing in the White House.” Remember that scary ad Hillary Clinton ran against Barack Obama in 2008? 

Its message was clear: Hillary Clinton could be trusted to answer that phone; Barack Obama could not. One thing’s for sure. Republicans won’t be running that ad in 2012. President Obama’s proven he’s not only capable of answering one phone, he’s ready to pick up another one — and give orders to kill.

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Check his record. Sept. 11 mastermind Osama bin Laden: tracked down and killed in Pakistan. Anti-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki: tracked down and killed by American drone in Yemen. Dictator Moammar Gadhafi: stopped in his tracks by American drones in Libya. Plus hundreds of low-level targets (and innocent civilians) killed by drone missile strikes in Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

Obama’s has amassed such a record that one White House reporter even suggested he should give back his Nobel Peace Prize. But, however begrudgingly, Republicans would at least give Barack Obama credit for being tough on terrorists. Right?

Wrong! They’re genetically incapable of giving Obama credit for anything. On Libya, Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio told Fox News: “Let’s give credit where credit is due. It’s the French and the British that led on this fight. And probably even led on the strike that led to Gadhafi’s capture or to his death.”

In his ignorance, Rubio not only failed to recognize the tremendous job done by the U.S. military, he obviously didn’t know it was an American drone that spotted the Libyan dictator trying to flee Sirte and, after alerting a French fighter jet, fired the missile that derailed his fleeing convoy.

Same with the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden, which Obama personally ordered and directed. Many Republicans, led by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, insisted that bin Laden’s demise was a vindication of the policies of George W. Bush — even though Bush abandoned the search for bin Laden and told reporters he didn’t know where the al Qaeda leader was located, and didn’t care.

Not even bringing all troops home from Iraq won a peep of praise for Obama from Republicans. John McCain declared it a “serious mistake.” Mitt Romney accused Obama of putting our troops at risk. And Dick Cheney blasted Obama’s “rush for the exit,” instead of leaving a residual force in Iraq, much like we still have in Germany, Japan and South Korea. Oy vey!

However rude the Republicans’ refusal to give Obama due credit for his foreign policy successes, it’s obvious why they won’t: because the very success of Barack Obama in the Middle East highlights the total ineptitude of George W. Bush. Bush was all swagger, no substance.

There’s another factor at work here. As one caller told my radio audience, the Republican Party’s acting like certain banks in the South: They refuse to give a black man credit.

Press is host of the nationally syndicated “Bill Press Show.”