Friday, December 9, 2011


Verne Strickland Blogmaster / December 10, 2011

Last Updated: 9:39 AM, December 9, 2011
Posted: 1:49 AM, December 9, 2011

WASHINGTON — A swaggering President Obama yesterday dared Republicans to go toe to toe with the man who killed Osama bin Laden.

Responding to GOP criticism that his Middle East and Iran policy is one of “appeasement,” Obama for the first time publicly flexed his ample “I killed bin Laden” muscle to slap down his foes.

“Ask Osama bin Laden and the 22 out of 30 top al Qaeda leaders who’ve been taken off the field whether I engage in appeasement — or whoever’s left out there, ask them about that,” Obama boasted.

The president dropped the bin Laden bomb after a reporter at the White House asked about harsh criticism of his foreign policy leveled Wednesday by GOP presidential-primary candidates at a forum hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition.

For instance, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney accused Obama of being “timid and weak” and relying on a policy of “appeasement.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called on the Obama administration to stop “blaming”Israel for its long conflict with its neighbors.

Romney and Gingrich were left cowering after Obama’s taunting. They didn’t respond to questions from The Post about the president’s playing the coveted Osama card.

The president, who usually reserves his bin Laden braggadocio for private fund-raisers, appeared to jump at the chance to thump his chest and lay low his detractors.

He was already angry when he hastily summoned the White House press corps to scold Senate Republicans for rejecting his nominee to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Republicans blocked confirmation of Richard Cordray for the job not because they disputed his qualifications but because they want to rewrite Obama’s Wall Street regulations that set up the CFPB to protect Americans from finance-industry abuses.

Blocking the nomination also stopped the bureau from being able to fully implement its powers.

“I don’t think there’s any American out there who thinks that the reason we got into the big financial mess that we did was because of too much regulation of Wall Street or the financial-services industry,” the president growled.

Obama, down in the polls and facing a tough re-election campaign because of the economy, vowed to keep fighting on behalf of consumers.

He wouldn’t rule out using a recess appointment to get his nominee into the post without GOP approval.

“We are not giving up on this,” said Obama. “We are not going to allow politics as usual on Capitol Hill to stand in the way of American consumers’ being protected by unscrupulous financial operators.”