BY ALYSSA CARTEE
ANCHOR ALEX ROZIER
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This Sunday...talk about the take-down of Osama bin Laden. From confidence in President Obama’s decision, to funding the war on terror, to Pakistan’s role in the mission.
White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon was a guest on four of the five Sunday shows. He told Fox News’ Chris Wallace-- the decision to invade the compound was the president’s -- and the president’s alone.
Donilon: “At the end of the day, we ask our president to make the decision. It’s the president who’s up in the situation room, stands up, walks across that colonnade by the rose garden, which is a walk you know so very well, into the residence and makes that decision. That's where I focus because he had obviously weighed this through a rigorous process. The decision was on his shoulders.”
And that decision earned him some political capital- in fact, Obama’s approval ratings rose above 50% after bin Laden’s death. Former Senior political advisor Anita Dunn says the terrorist take-down could help the president see a second term.
Dunn: “I think the economy is the main issue, but I think when people look at the economy and look at challenges in terms of the deficit, they look at the people. Elections are choices between two people, not between two sets of issues. What they see when they see the president is somebody who is an advocate for their interests.”
But what’s been good press for the president is bad news for the U.S.’ relationship with Pakistan.
One panelist on ABC’s This Week says Americans are suspicious of the nation where Bin Laden was found.
Tom Ricks: “I actually think we’re going to have to see a major change in U.S.- Pakistan relations. This game of Charlie Brown and the football that we’ve played with them for decades - I think the jig is up. I don’t think the American people will stand for it. *Flash* I don’t think Congress is going to stand for giving four billion dollars a year to a country that is acting like an enemy.”
But Senator Richard Lugar tells CNN’s Candy Crowley- the U.S./Pakistan relationship is too important to throw away.
Crowley: “In the end do you see the U.S. going, ‘okay, no more money? You tried to protect Osama bin Laden.’ ”
Sen. Richard Lugar : “No, I don't see that at all. As a matter of fact, Pakistan is a critical factor in the war against terror. Our war the world's war against it, simply because there are a lot of terrorists in Pakistan. There are Al Qaeda still. There are many Taliban that go back and forth to Afghanistan.”
ABC’s George Will says critical or not, too much money is being spent on the war against Al Qaeda.
George Will: “It’s our longest war now, 10 years, longest in our national history. Do the arithmetic. There are 140 thousand coalition forces there. There are, at the top estimate, about 100 Al Qaeda fighters there. That’s 1,400 soldiers at a million dollars per year there. 1.4 billion dollars per Al Qaeda fighter. The arithmetic doesn’t make sense.”
Reports say the information that has been recovered from bin Laden’s compound was the single largest intelligence gathering from one person. Senator John Kerry says the information proves bin Laden was not just a symbolic leader.
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA): “The information that comes out of it absolutely underscores the degree to which Osama bin Laden was actively running, plotting, organizing, recruiting, engaged in, the entire management of Al Qaeda. This man was not retired. He had not stepped back. He had not receded into the shadows. He was not irrelevant. He was, in fact, the center.”
And though most of the Sunday crowd lauded Bin Laden’s death as good news for the U.S., The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward cautions- the war on terror is far from over.
Bob Woodward (Washington Post): “Of course this is very good news but very good news is rarely followed by better news. It’s followed by bad news. And things can happen in Arab Spring. In the White House it’s the question - Is it Yemen? Is it Libya? Is it Egypt? Is it Saudi Arabia? All of these places are explosive. Pakistan is still a powder keg of the region.”
Pakistan’s U.S. Ambassador tells ABC’s Christiane Amanpour, the Pakistani government is investigating how Bin Laden was able to live in Pakistan undetected. He said quote “head will roll” if it’s discovered that anyone knew anything about Bin Laden’s hideout.
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