Published for www.online.wsj.com, May 2, 2012

Considering Team Obama’s behavior regarding the killing of Osama bin Laden, I can truly say, What a difference a decade makes.

In January 2002, as senior adviser to President George W. Bush, I told the Republican National Committee that “We can go to the country on this issue [prosecuting the war on terror] because they trust the Republican Party to do a better job of protecting and strengthening America’s military might.” After the meeting, all hell broke loose.

House Democratic Minority Leader Dick Gephardt called my remarks “shameful.” House Democratic Whip Nancy Pelosi implied that I might be attempting “to exploit terrorism as a political issue.” Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe raged that my comments were “nothing short of despicable” and “an affront to the integrity of the entire United States military.”

A few years later, in March 2004, the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign released its first ads. One of them, “Tested,” began with the announcer saying “the last few years have tested America in many ways. Some challenges we’ve seen before. And some were like no others.” During this last sentence, footage of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon appeared. The ads, including this one, were so inoffensive that FactCheck.org called them “downright bland.” But once again, all hell broke loose.

The campaign of the Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry, denounced the use of the 9/11 images as “astonishing.” The head of the national firefighters union said it was “disgraceful,” and a union resolution demanded Mr. Bush “apologize to the families of firefighters killed on 9/11.”

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