Halperin’s Take: What It Means

Reuters
Reuters

The President’s speech to the nation, announcing that Osama bin Laden has been killed by an American team in Pakistan, was strong, proud and passionate, and proved once again that Obama is capable of reaching the highest levels of gravitas and consequence his job demands.

From one end of the American political spectrum to the other, there will be absolute consensus that the Obama administration’s elimination of bin Laden is a huge victory for the president. It will reinforce the notion that Barack Obama will be very tough to beat for re-election.

For all the political water Barack Obama has taken on since assuming office, he has been a strong national security president.  The tough stance in Afghanistan, the unapologetic use of assassinations in the war on terror, the deployment of American troops around the world–Obama has been virtually unassailable on military matters. That is quite an achievement, given his relative lack of national security experience before taking office, the turmoil of the post-9/11 world he inherited, and the Republican instinct in this partisan age to attack at any Democratic weakness.

A triumph for Obama,  it will have an impact in November 2012, regardless of what happens over the next 18 months. It will resonate on the upcoming ten-year anniversary of September 11, and again in September 2012.

This is a great day for America, but make no mistake: this is a great day for Obama’s re-election effort. Republicans running for president are going to have to face that fact, even as they celebrate this historic occasion with the rest of the country.

(More on TIME.com: Photos: Ground Zero, 2001-2010)

(More on TIME.com: Photos: Osama bin Laden)

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