Charlie Rose asked Mitt Romney this morning about the likelihood of a negative campaign through the fall. The presumptive Republican nominee offered an interesting response.
For those who can't watch clips online, Romney said:
"I think what you've seen so far with the president and I won't rehearse all of the attacks, but you began with Romney wouldn't have gone after Osama bin Laden. These silly kinds of attacks, it's like, what has that got to do with getting our economy going?"Of course, I would have taken out Osama bin Laden, but what's the right course for the economy? What should we do with taxes? What should we do with regulation? What should we do with trade overseas? What should we do with our energy policy? How about our labor policy? These are important issues people care about."
I haven't seen a full transcript of the interview, so in fairness to Rose, I don't know what follow-up questions were asked, if any. But I have a few of my own for Romney:
* When you say you're focused on "important issues people care about," why do you exclude counter-terrorism? Do you believe targeting the al Qaeda leader behind 9/11 is an unimportant issue people don't care about?
* When you said four years ago that an Obama victory would be "a surrender to terror," do you still think that was a sensible argument?
* When you say "of course" you would have launched the raid on bin Laden, do you realize that completely contradicts your campaign promises from four years ago? And do you understand the complexities and enormous risks of the decision itself?
* When you decided to visit New York firefighters today with Rudy Giuliani, are we to think this wasn't a political move associated with the one-year anniversary of killing bin Laden?
* Republicans politicized the fear of terrorism in several recent election cycles. Why didn't you complain then? And do you recognize a qualitative difference between politicizing fear and politicizing a victory?
Inquiring minds want to know.