NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — President Barack Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Tuesday on this, the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death.
Meanwhile, here in New York City, Republican Mitt Romney also tried to make political points, meeting members of a lower Manhattan fire house that lost 11 men on 9/11, reported CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
It was dark when Air Force One landed in Afghanistan. President Obama was unmistakable in camera flashes as he was greeted on the ground by American diplomats.
Then helicopters whisked the president to the Afghan presidential palace in Kabul to sign a strategic partnership agreement. And it was no coincidence that the top secret visit was timed to coincide with the first anniversary of bin Laden’s death.
In recent days Team Obama has traded barbs with Republican Romney, questioning whether the former Massachusetts governor would have ordered the killing of bin Laden.
Here in New York City, Romney was in major push-back mode.
WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell Reports From SoHo
“Let’s not use this as a political football. I think them taking credit for the right decision is entirely appropriate. I think trying to attack me on that bases is disappointing and the wrong course,” Romney said.
Meanwhile, Romney’s wife, Ann, tried to help change her husband’s image of being, well, somewhat stiff.
“There’s a wild and crazy man inside there,” she said.
And although he didn’t have the power of the presidency to fly to Afghanistan, Romney, himself, tried to make political hay with bin Laden’s death.
First, he went to a pizza joint on Carmine Street for six pizzas. He paid with cash and left a tip on the $136 tab. Then it was off to Engine 24/Ladder 5, the Village firehouse that lost 11 men on 9/11. He arrived with former mayor Rudy Giuliani.
“This is a place of significance to the people of New York but also to our country,” Romney said.
Osama bin Laden came up again.
“Had I been president of the United States I would have made the same decision the president made,” Romney said.
This being New York, Romney was interrupted by two “Occupy Wall Street” protestors. He also met with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. What he took from that meeting was a statistic that startled him.
“The life expectancy of a New Yorker is three years longer than the average American. That’s not something most people would recognize,” Romney said.
President Obama was scheduled to give a speech to the nation Thursday night from Afghanistan. He was expected to mention the bid Laden raid in the speech.
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