WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's top campaign strategist, David Axelrod, said Sunday that he doubts presidential candidate Mitt Romney would have had the courage to order the May raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that claimed the life of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.
"I'm not sure Mitt Romney would have made that decision," Axelrod told George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week." "It was a very courageous decision."
The comment came as Axelrod was ticking off what he described as Obama's accomplishments over the last three years on matters of national security.
"I think when you look at the record -- ending the war in Iraq, bringing Osama bin Laden to justice, destroying the leadership of al Qaeda ... He's made some very tough calls," Axelrod said. "I know Gov. Romney said, 'Oh, well, anyone would've given the order on Osama bin Laden.' [Then-Defense Secretary] Bob Gates said it was the most courageous decision he's seen a president make in his 30 years in Washington."
In a rare Sunday show appearance last month, the GOP candidate gave Obama a backhanded compliment on the bin Laden call, telling Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday" that the president made the right decision, though he added that "any president" would have done the same.
"We’re delighted that he gave the order to take out Osama bin Laden," Romney said. “Any president would have done that, but this one did, and that’s a good thing. I’m not going to say everything he’s done is wrong."
The bin Laden comment wasn't the only shot that Axelrod took at Romney on Sunday. When talk turned the economy, Axelrod suggested that Romney was hoping for a weak recovery to improve his odds in an election. "Governor Romney may be rooting for slips and falls here," Axelrod said. "We're concentrating on moving this economy forward."
Like many other Democrats, Axelrod also accused the former Massachusetts governor and his partners of putting profits before workers in their time at investment firm Bain Capital. Although the Romney campaign claims the candidate's business decisions created jobs, Axelrod questioned the campaign's numbers and asserted that a "Bain mentality" would be bad for the country.
"I don't think those are the values that people want to animate our economy," Axelrod said. "He's not a job creator -- he's a corporate raider. Those aren't the values that we want to lead our economy."
Correction: This article originally said the raid in Abbottabad occurred last August.
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