White House: It's "entirely appropriate" to mention bin Laden killing on campaign trail

President Barack Obama speaks at the Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater, Tuesday, May 10, 2011, in Austin, Texas.
AP Photo/Eric Gay
AP Photo/Eric Gay

The president's spokesman calls it "entirely appropriate" that at each of the two re-election fundraising speeches President Obama delivered yesterday, he trumpeted the U.S. mission that killed Osama bin Laden.

"Because of the extraordinary bravery of the men and women who wear this nation's uniform and the outstanding work of our intelligence agencies, Osama bin Laden will never again threaten the United States of America," said Mr. Obama, drawing thunderous cheers and applause at the first of his two fundraisers last evening in Austin.

"We couldn't be prouder of them," added the president about the special operations team that carried out the mission against bin Laden.

At the second event, Mr. Obama's reference to the mission was more a mention in passing, but there was no mistaking what he meant.

"Last weekend, obviously, Sunday was a big moment for the country, thanks to the extraordinary work of our men and women in uniform and our intelligence folks," he said.

Both mentions by Mr. Obama were efforts to score political points by reminding supporters that it was on his watch that the world's most-wanted terrorist leader was tracked down and eliminated.

"What he said last night was entirely appropriate," said spokesman Jay Carney in response to questions at his daily press briefing. Carney also was quick to point out that it was a member of the audience who was first to raise the bin Laden issue. special report: The killing of Osama bin Laden

"Thank you for getting bin Laden," the supporter shouted from his seat as the president was speaking. He clearly didn't mind the interruption.

"Well, there you go," he said as the audience applauded the sentiment from the unidentified man. "Case in point," said the president, adding "It should inspire us to finish what we started." It was a reference to his campaign promise to bring the fight against terrorism directly to al Qaeda.

But the issue raises the question of whether Mr. Obama should be trying to score political points from the bin Laden killing.

"The answer is: his record is his record," said spokesman Carney.

He said the mission to get bin Laden was successful and is unequivocally "a good thing." It is also good policy, he said, and merits mention by the president and candidate for a 2nd term.

"Good policy is good politics," said Carney. He said of Mr. Obama: "That's why he's here; that's why he wanted to be president; that's why he ran."

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    Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent.