, Salem, MA


February 25, 2013

For GOP Senate hopeful, Obama is a tricky topic


A top aide said Gomez wasn’t backing away from his comments but also wasn’t out to tear down Obama, to whose campaign he donated $250 in 2008 and $230 the year before.

“It’s hard to argue that the guy was trying to swift-boat a president he had donated to,” Gomez campaign aide Lenny Alcivar said.

Gomez donated $2,500 to Romney in 2011.

Democrats have been quick to fault Gomez’s criticism of Obama and his association with a group that also said the president took too much credit for the bin Laden raid.

State Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh criticized Gomez for “hanging out last year with a secretive group that tried, and failed, to damage the president for his handling of bringing justice to Osama bin Laden.”

The group, Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund Inc., produced a 22-minute video during the presidential election criticizing Obama.

During an interview last year on MSNBC, Gomez said Obama should have followed the model of other presidents.

“The only time that these presidents, Lincoln and Eisenhower and other wartime presidents, ever used the word ‘I’ was when they said ‘I thank you’ to the troops,” Gomez said during the interview.

Supporters of Gomez say his defense of fellow Navy SEALs is personal and runs deep.

Gomez helped found the group Navy SEAL Foundation of New England, which is obtaining formal nonprofit status in Massachusetts.

Jeff Sabados also helped organize the group, which he said collected $200,000 at a fundraiser last year and is planning another event this summer. He said the money was donated to the national Navy SEAL Foundation, which supports former SEALs and their families.

“Gabriel was the catalyst and the leader behind that,” said Sabados, also a former Navy SEAL. “He wanted to make a difference and see how much we could raise. He’s a phenomenal person that really cares about making the world a better place.”

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