WASHINGTON -- Likely presidential candidate Mitt Romney this morning said President Obama deserved to be credited with an “enormous success” for overseeing the mission that killed Osama bin Laden.
“We’ll all remember where we were when Osama bin Laden was finally killed,” Romney told reporters this morning, according to an NECN video. “I congratulate the president, the intelligence community, our military. It’s an extraordinary accomplishment.”
“The bad guy took one in the eye,” he added.
Romney, who is considering vying for the role of occupying the Oval Office, was also eager for some more behind-the-scenes details.
“I look forward to hearing more,” Romney said. “How did we find out where he was located? What sources of intelligence were developed over the years? How many blind allies did they have to pursue until they finally found this guy?”
When asked whether the killing of the world's most wanted terrorist made Obama unbeatable in the 2012 election, Romney said, “I don’t think so.”
“I don’t know whether it helps or hurts politically the president but I really don’t care,” Romney said. “The right thing is we got the bad guy and the nation celebrates that. We’re all Americans. This is not a Republican or a Democrat thing. This is an American thing.”
Romney made the comments after meeting with small business owners in Nashua, NH. It was a rare public event for the former Massachusetts governor, who has kept an unusually low profile as he continues laying the groundwork for a presidential bid.
His press staff did not announce the appearance publicly and only once word seeped out did they allow reporters to cover the event.
Romney also began to outline a new policy proposal, to cap all regulatory-related costs at $1.7 trillion. He claimed that President Obama has proposed “at least 100 new regulations that cost each over $100 million apiece.”
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said the estimate came from a paper written by Susan E. Dudley, who was President George W. Bush's chief advisor on regulatory matters.
During Obama’s first two years in office, the federal government issued 132 regulations that are estimated to cost at least $100 million per year, according to the paper by Dudley, who is now director of the Regulatory Studies Center at George Washington University. Obama's annual average (66 regulations) is higher than those under President Clinton (47) and President George W. Bush (48), according to the paper.
“That kind of continued addition of regulatory burden is hampering the economy,” Romney said. “And to say that our overall regulation burden should not exceed $1.7 trillion would say in that circumstance that if you want to add new regulations you’ve got to take out some of the old regulations that are no longer effective.”
President Obama’s fiscal year 2011 budget called for $59 billion in regulatory expenditures, according to the Regulatory Studies Center. Romney's much higher cap -- $1.7 trillion -- is based on a 2008 estimate of what private businesses spend to comply with federal regulations.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.