Romney and his advisers suggested Monday that the decision to order the raid was an easy one.
"Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order," Romney said Monday following a campaign appearance in New Hampshire.
Romney probably meant that as a jab at the Democratic record on foreign policy generally, but invoking Carter may actually cloud Romney's message.
Carter demonstrated how dangerous and politically perilous such decisions can be when he ordered an attempt to rescue American hostages held in Iran.
The 1980 mission ultimately embarrassed the nation, ending with the death of eight servicemen and the loss of several American helicopters. The hostage crisis lasted more than a year and helped deny Carter a second term.
If the bin Laden raid had gone similarly awry, Obama would have been badly damaged by a military debacle on top of the country's economic woes.
A spokeswoman for Carter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Peoples reported from Portsmouth, N.H.
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