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Sam Pollak

May 8, 2011

He didn't become 'The President' for all of us until Obama got Osama

Some idle musings while wondering how many months _ yes, only months _ it will be before we see the first TV movie about how the Navy SEALS offed Osama bin Laden ...

Barack Obama took office as president of the United States on Jan. 20, 2009.

But he didn't become "The President" until May 1, 2011, when he announced that America had finally succeeded in tracking down and killing bin Laden.

A political campaign to undermine the legitimacy of Obama as president had been disappointingly effective. For too many of our citizens, he was "not one of us," as Sarah Palin claimed during the 2008 campaign.

Whether it was because the idea of a black president was abhorrent, or folks believed the baloney about him being born in Kenya or that he was a Muslim, Barack Obama, in their view, just wasn't a true American. He was "the other."

Then came last Sunday night, when in strong, serious tones, Obama spoke about 9/11, bin Laden and America.

"As a country," he said, "we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed."

He wasn't "the other," or just Barack Obama, He was "The President," standing up for America.

Finally, one of "us."

There was a lot to be impressed with regarding the whole operation that took down bin Laden. For once, at least, no one could accurately say the term "military intelligence" was an oxymoron.

The fact-finding by the CIA and other agencies that tracked the evil man to his lair, the gutsy decision by Obama to send in commandos, the skill and bravery of the men who carried out the operation _ all were incredibly impressive.

But what made me sit back and say, "Wow!" was Obama's multi-tasking while up to his elbows in planning the death of the world's No. 1 terrorist.

On April 27, a Wednesday, he released his long-form birth certificate and scolded those who hadn't believed that he is a native-born American.

"We do not have time," he correctly said, "for this kind of silliness."

Then, on the following Saturday night, you wouldn't have thought he had a care in the world when he laughed heartily at jokes _ including one about bin Laden _ at the White House Correspondents Association Dinner, televised on C-SPAN.

In extremely good humor, Obama's dinner speech eviscerated any pretensions blowhard birther-in-chief Donald Trump had about becoming the next president.

Referring to choices Trump makes on his "Celebrity Apprentice" television program, the president said: "And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night."

The crowd laughed, knowing all the crucial world and national decisions Obama must make on a daily _ and nightly _ basis.

Well ... not ALL the decisions.

The next day, the president of the United States was going to kill Osama bin Laden.

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Sam Pollak

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