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Obama 2012 boost from Osama Bin Laden killing: Will it last?

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WASHINGTON--Osama bin Laden is killed in a daring raid by U.S. forces. Does the death of the terrorist -- hunted by Presidents Clinton, Bush 43 and Obama -- help Barack Obama's 2012 re-election bid?

Yes it does, though the national unity of Monday -- even Oliver North on Fox News said Obama's order for U.S. Special forces to invade bin Laden's Pakistan compound was a "courageous decision" and "one of the finest operations you could ever expect" -- may not last long.

From an Obama 2012 campaign standpoint, there will be no need to explicitly "pitch" the massively covered event. There won't be any need for paid media to remind people of the dramatic details of tracking down bin Laden and killing him in a firefight.

What Obama gets through the surge of national pride in the well-executed raid by Navy Seals -- acting on CIA intelligence -- is this: A political rule of thumb is when people feel good about their country, they feel good about their president.

Obama in recent months had faced a grinding mood of defeatism in some quarters, with the slow recovery of the economy, troops still in Afghanistan, Iraq and more recently above Libya, tornadoes hitting the South and gas prices soaring.

For the moment, the successful taking out of bin Laden -- who, it turned out, was living in a million-dollar compound in a suburb of Islamabad -- near a national military academy -- not a cave -- has lifted the national mood.

That well serves Obama, as his campaign team in Chicago is studying how to get people on the fence about Obama -- independents and swing voters -- back in the fold. Specifically, they are looking at 2008 Obama voters who cast ballots for Republicans in 2010.

Those who have doubts about Obama's performance on an issue -- say, the economy -- now can, because of the success of the raid, justify keeping or renewing their "relationship" with Obama. At least for now.

Bin Laden's death will also make it easier for the Obama finance team to woo mega-donors in the search of more than $750 million in campaign cash. No, not through anything crass. Another general rule: Donors like good news. Donors like to give when they see good things happen.

"I think we can all agree this is a good day for America. Our country has kept its commitment to see that justice is done. The world is safer; it is a better place because of the death of Osama bin Laden," Obama said at the White House on Monday.

And a good day for him.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on May 3, 2011 8:32 AM.

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