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Mullen worries bin Laden raid will 'get spun into election politics'

"Well, I worry about it, just because it's the political season," Mullen told NBC News as part of an hour-long special on the raid set to air Tuesday. "And from my perspective, the president's support, the decision that he made, and obviously, the result stand alone in terms of the kind of call presidents have to make and he made it. I do worry a great deal that this time of year that somehow this gets spun into election politics. I can assure you that those individuals who risk their lives the last thing in the world that they want is to be spun into that. So I'm hoping that that doesn't happen."

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The network was granted access to the White House Situation Room to conduct the interview with Mullen, along with President Obama, Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a move that has raised eyebrows among some conservative critics.

On Tuesday morning, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made a point to congratulate President Obama on the one-year anniversary, but said the suggestion by the president's campaign team that he wouldn't have done the same thing was "disappointing."

"I congratulated the president and the intelligence community, as well as SEAL Team Six for their valor in carrying out this direction, so I acknowledge the president's success and think he has every right to take credit for him having ordered that attack," Romney said on "CBS This Morning" Tuesday. "At the same time, I think it was very disappointing for the president to try to make this a political item by suggesting I wouldn't have ordered such a raid of course I would have, any thinking American would have ordered the exact same thing."

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who last week described an Obama campaign ad heralding bin Laden's death as the "height of hypocrisy," said Monday that "the thing about heroes [is] they don't brag." 

Liberal commentator Arianna Huffington said the campaign ad was "despicable," while former and current U.S. Navy SEALs criticized the president to the U.K.'s Daily Mail.

But Obama insisted Monday that his campaign had not gone overboard in discussing the killing of bin Laden.

"I hardly think you’ve seen any excessive celebration taking place here,” Obama said during a press conference Monday.

“I think the American people remember rightly what we as a country accomplished in bringing to justice someone who killed 3,000 of our citizens,” Obama said.