AP Analysis: A boost in U.S. mood

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WASHINGTON - At last, something big to celebrate and lift America's mood.

A nation surly over rising gas prices, stubbornly high unemployment and nasty partisan politics poured into the streets to wildly cheer President Barack Obama's announcement that Osama bin Laden, the world's most wanted man, had been killed by U.S. forces after a decade-long manhunt.

The outcome could not have come at a better time for Obama, sagging in the polls as he embarks on his re-election campaign. For now, at least, he is assured of a big political boost, something that could strengthen his hand as he heads into a big battle over federal spending with Republicans who control the House.

Outside the White House, hundreds of people chanted "U-S-A! U-S-A!" and waved American flags. And in New York City at ground zero, where al-Qaida downed the twin towers, a crowd broke out into song, including renditions of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "I'm Proud to be an American."

The joyous response won't last forever but on this day, the nation's spirits were lifted and a country sharply divided along partisan lines seemed united much as it was in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that bin Laden orchestrated.

That was not lost on Obama.

"Let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today's achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people," Obama said Sunday in a late night statement urging the nation to come together again.

Former President George W. Bush had promised to get bin Laden dead or alive but wasn't able to achieve his goal. Obama picked up the challenge and, as a candidate for president, vowed that "We will kill bin Laden."

Obama's persistence - and success - makes it more difficult for political foes to question whether he is tough enough to do whatever it takes to keep America safe, and whether he's experienced enough to be commander in chief.

For Republicans seeking the presidency, it will more difficult to question his strength on national security and foreign policy.

Perhaps reflecting Obama's enhanced standing if not newfound respect, even Republicans praised him.

Said Rep. Eric Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House: "I commend President Obama who has followed the vigilance of President Bush in bringing bin Laden to justice." And former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, an all-but-declared presidential candidate, congratulated Obama for "a job well done."

Beyond America, bin Laden's death sends a clear signal to the rest of the world about the persistence of U.S. power and that no one is beyond the United States' reach.

To that end, Obama put the world on notice, saying: "We will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies."

But while bin Laden's death closes one chapter in the U.S. war against terrorism, it also opens others and raises a slew of questions.

-Will the relationship between Pakistan and the United States be strong or weak once the dust settles? The United States did not give Pakistan advance notice that American forces would stage the raid.

Bin Laden was found living in a huge fortified compound in an affluent Pakistani town about 60 miles from Islamabad. The compound was located about 100 yards from the gates of a Pakistani military academy - certain to raise questions about al-Qaida's ability to build a custom-made hideout in such proximity.

-Will bin Laden's killing make the United States more likely to pull its troops out of Afghanistan?

The 2001 attacks occurred on George W. Bush's watch, and triggered the war in Afghanistan as the United States went after bin Laden. As president, Obama made the Afghanistan war a top priority, and boosted the numbers of troops there. But many Democrats no longer support that war, and even some Republicans want to withdraw troops.

-Will al-Qaida try to exact revenge on the country that killed its leader and hit U.S. soil again?

Bin Laden's death was a major blow to al-Qaida foot soldiers. Even so, the State Department put U.S. embassies on alert and warned of the "enhanced potential for anti-American violence given recent counterterrorism activity in Pakistan."

Said Obama: "There's no doubt that al-Qaida will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must - and we will - remain vigilant at home and abroad."

And, for now, at least united.

____

Liz Sidoti has covered national politics for The Associated Press since 2003.

Comments (19) Add comment
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RunningMan
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RunningMan 05/02/11 - 05:39 am
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Please...it is too early for

Please...it is too early for this nonsense. Stop blaming him for all of your troubles. Considering the number of service members lost and money spent trying to catch this guy, we all should rejoice that he is no longer able to kill so many.

burninater
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burninater 05/02/11 - 07:11 am
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All part of the Blueprint,

All part of the Blueprint, huh dickworth1?

burninater
9948
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burninater 05/02/11 - 07:19 am
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Oh, and by the way

Oh, and by the way ...

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

urright
465
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urright 05/02/11 - 07:31 am
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Retired--once again, it has

Retired--once again, it has nothing to do with his race! If my father was president and had the same policies and beliefs, I'd be against him too. WE DON'T LIKE HIS POLITICS, NOT HIS RACE!!
By the way, the Seals got him, not Obama.

paulbaughman28
215
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paulbaughman28 05/02/11 - 07:53 am
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Well his politics suck, but

Well his politics suck, but at least he had the intestinal fortitude to sign off on a surgical strike in a country, whose government is sketchy at best, without letting them know in advance so that no one would warn bin Laden. Bush didn't even do that. I know someone on here is going to bring up how he invaded Libya...so I'm going to do a preemptive strike on that as well. NATO did that....WE did bin Laden.

Lawpig
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Lawpig 05/02/11 - 07:58 am
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It made me happier that they

It made me happier that they caught him.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 05/02/11 - 08:26 am
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The sheeple will soon return

The sheeple will soon return to worrying about high gas prices, inflation, taxes, our debt, their fav reality show or the latest rap song. The temporary distraction is nice though.

Obama will still be a one hit wonder. This changes nothing. Osama has been powerless since GW went after him and he went into hiding.

I'm interested to see how much credit the media gives Bush for this. Without his initial and relentless pursuit of osama, this would have never come to pass.

Chillen
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Chillen 05/02/11 - 08:52 am
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Yea right, retired. Just

Yea right, retired. Just keep blindly supporting the nobel peace prize winning war monger. So please explain to me. Excactly WHEN did obama end the war in Iraq? We are still there. In full force.

(P.S. every time I type osama's name I type obama first and have to go back & correct it. is anyone else having the same problem? Freudian slip I guess.)

kmb413
533
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kmb413 05/02/11 - 08:56 am
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Waterboarding seemed to have

Waterboarding seemed to have worked.

paulbaughman28
215
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paulbaughman28 05/02/11 - 09:19 am
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Chillen, we are also still in

Chillen, we are also still in Afghanistan. And Africa. And Korea. And Japan. And Germany. We are going to be in Iraq for a while to come. News Flash...we never left since before the Gulf War. If you are going to blame someone for not ending a war within a time frame, why don't you blame NATO and the UN for not dispelling the intel given to Bush regarding Iraq. Blame the intel. Blame Bush for that matter. If you have a better game plan that can get their troops spun up and trained properly, pull ALL of our troops out, ensure their government can stand on their own without us leaving a power vacuum, and ensure that insurgents their won't turn into the new Al-Queida, please share with the group. Otherwise, let's leave it to the people that are actually quarterbacking this, mmmmkay?

Chillen
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Chillen 05/02/11 - 09:40 am
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paubaughman28. You totally

paubaughman28. You totally misread my post. Before you insult, you should brush up on your reading comprehension a bit.

I'm simply pointing out to retired army - who is ranting about Bush & the iraq war - that his messiah, his hero - obama - never ended it. retiredarmy, once again, is pinning the entire blame on Bush. I'm saying that the community organizer is as much to blame.

I'm absolutely sick of liberals blaming bush. Nobel peace prize winner obama now owns the Iraq war. They can't admit it. But it's true! LOL!

burninater
9948
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burninater 05/02/11 - 09:43 am
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Chillen, it's amazing how

Chillen, it's amazing how well the CIA performs when they aren't worried one of their own may be outed by the Presidential administration for political gain.

justthefacts
25496
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justthefacts 05/02/11 - 09:56 am
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More Urban Legend.

More Urban Legend.

burninater
9948
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burninater 05/02/11 - 10:10 am
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Yes jtf, Scooter decided to

Yes jtf, Scooter decided to go to jail out of pure intellectual curiosity.

justthefacts
25496
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justthefacts 05/02/11 - 10:22 am
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Sure, and all Wilson's

Sure, and all Wilson's lawsuits have been thrown out of every court because of the abundance of legitimate information.

burninater
9948
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burninater 05/02/11 - 10:40 am
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JTF, Judith Miller testified

JTF, Judith Miller testified under oath that Libby was her source. The facts may hurt, but they're still the facts. Plame's lawsuit was dismissed because elected officials are protected from private liability for acts performed while in office. The dismissal had nothing to do with the truth of the claims.

"U.S. District Judge John D. Bates dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds and said he would not express an opinion on the constitutional arguments. Bates dismissed the case against all defendants: Cheney, White House political adviser Karl Rove, former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.
Plame’s attorneys had said the lawsuit would be an uphill battle. Public officials are normally immune from such lawsuits filed in connection with their jobs."

http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/valerie_plames_lawsuit_dismissed_/

justthefacts
25496
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justthefacts 05/02/11 - 12:24 pm
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OK Burn, Armitage was the

OK Burn, Armitage was the source of the information that Novak released in an article. Libby, was convicted of lying about knowing. Your comment that this done for political reasons is unprovable or Armitage would have been charged. In any event, your comment above (10:43) was silly. Surely, you can see that.

storiesihaveread
369
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storiesihaveread 05/02/11 - 01:38 pm
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The seals did all the work

The seals did all the work Obama did nothing except he gave the go ahead. Good work for our trained troops on getting it it done!!

Robbie1991
0
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Robbie1991 05/02/11 - 01:57 pm
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And the price of gas just

And the price of gas just keeps on rising..

augusta citizen
10075
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augusta citizen 05/02/11 - 09:30 pm
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...

...

paulbaughman28
215
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paulbaughman28 05/03/11 - 12:10 am
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Chillen, at no point in the

Chillen, at no point in the post that you made before mine did you outline that. I no point did I insult you. It looks like you might be the one that needs to brush up on reading comprehension... English composition as well. Yes, Obama now owns Operation New Dawn in Iraq. I really don't follow your "logic" as to how he is also to blame for the "war" in Iraq. Here's a quick schooling for you too... there is NO combat mission in Iraq. None. Zero. Zip. Nil. Besides, what gives you the right to speak on behalf of us, the military? Have you served in either one of these operations? Have you done anything to touch the life of another person other than sit there on your computer and make comments about how others should do this or that? Every one of you, right wing or left, have your own agenda and own goals that you want to see implemented even if the cost is this country. Liberals and conservatives, democrats and republicans, both "parties" make me want to vomit. Why can't you all just admit that this operation was handled the way a covert operation should have been handled, with subtlety and finesse, and was a complete success and that everyone from the President to SEAL Team Six made it happen?

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