By Justin Sink - 05/01/12 12:25 PM EDT
Mitt Romney made a point to congratulate President Obama on the one-year anniversary of the successful mission that killed terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, 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.
Pressed by CBS host Charlie Rose as to whether he would have made the same decision to send American special forces into Pakistan, a decision that, according to administration officials was a controversial one, Romney said he would have definitely moved to go after the man who planned the 9/11 attacks.
"Well, you can look at the different military options, but clearly if you've identified where Osama bin Laden is, the United States is going to take action to capture or kill him," Romney said.
The Obama campaign has maintained that Romney would not have put the same focus on hunting down the terrorist leader, pointing to a 2007 statement from the campaign trail where Romney said "it's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person."
Former White House spokesman Robert Gibbs later told Fox News he didn't "think it's clear that [Romney] would" have ordered the mission.
"Osama bin Laden no longer walks on this planet today because of that brave decision and the brave actions by the men and women in our military — and quite frankly Mitt Romney said it was a foolish thing to do a few years ago," Gibbs said. "Maybe the comments he made a few years ago he admits are wrong, or he's flip-flopped on yet another issue."
But the presumptive Republican nominee went on to say that the president should not take "an event that really brought America together" and use it "as a political football."
"Let's not make the capture, killing of Osama bin Laden a politically divisive event," Romney said.
As Romney was being interviewed on CBS, his campaign released a statement on the anniversary of bin Laden's death.
“Today marks the one year anniversary of the mission that brought Osama bin Laden to justice. That mission was the culmination of nearly a decade of hard work and sacrifice by our men and women in the military and intelligence communities. I commend all those who planned and conducted the bin Laden raid, and I applaud President Obama for giving the go ahead for the mission," Romney said. "Let us never forget the thousands of innocents who perished on September 11, 2001, or the brave servicemen and women who have given their lives to defeat those who would do harm to our country. They, and their families, are forever in our thoughts and prayers.”