NEW YORK: Republican Mitt Romney praised President Barack Obama on Tuesday for taking out Osama bin Laden and said he would have done the same, but that it was "inappropriate" for the US leader to politicize the mission.
Romney, visiting a fire house in Manhattan that lost 11 first responders to the 9/11 attacks of 2001, said he believed it was "totally appropriate" for Obama to remind Americans of his role in ordering the daring raid into Pakistan that killed bin Laden exactly one year ago.
"I think politicizing it and trying to draw a distinction between himself and myself was an inappropriate use of the very important event that brought America together," said Romney, the Republican Party's presumptive nominee in the November election.
The ghost of Bin Laden has wrested its way into the White House campaign in recent days, with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden unleashing a fierce election-year row by questioning whether Romney would have taken out the Al-Qaeda founder.
"Of course I would have ordered taking out Osama bin Laden," Romney told reporters outside the downtown firehouse, where he met with former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and had a private lunch with firefighters.
"This is a person who had done terrible harm to America and represented a continuing threat to a civilized people throughout the world, and had I been president of the United States I would have made the same decision the president made," he added. (AFP)