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February 25, 2013

For GOP Senate hopeful, Obama is a tricky topic

BOSTON (AP) — As former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez gears up to announce his bid for U.S. Senate, he’s facing a dilemma that flummoxed fellow Republican and former Sen. Scott Brown: what to say about Barack Obama.

The Democratic president remains popular in Massachusetts, having handily defeated GOP presidential hopeful and former Gov. Mitt Romney on what should have been Romney’s home turf.

In interviews and an editorial for his hometown newspaper in Cohasset, Gomez has strongly criticized Obama for using the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan as a political talking point in his re-election campaign, while also crediting the president for giving the green light on the risky operation.

“When the mission’s accomplishments are mentioned by President Obama, the word ‘I’ is heard more often than ‘we,’ insinuating his ownership of the mission,” Gomez wrote in a commentary posted by the Cohasset Mariner last May.

“We must realize that President Obama has never worn a military uniform, or faced danger in a combat zone,” Gomez added. “Perhaps he does not realize just how critical the ‘stealth’ factor of these missions is. Perhaps he does not realize that by divulging crucial tactics, he is betraying future missions.”

Gomez also suggested the safety of Navy SEALs and their families has been put at risk.

“Those families and neighbors, those children, that community should not be put in a position where they may pay the price as a direct result of ‘The Osama Games,’” he wrote. “It’s a dangerous game, where the President and his top aides are treating the SEAL Teams and their military code like a ‘game move’ for his re-election.”

Gomez did not return calls from The Associated Press for this story. His campaign aides say he won’t speak to the press until Thursday, a day after the signature-gathering deadline for the special Senate election. They said he plans a statewide tour on Thursday to announce his candidacy and meet with voters.

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