"I hardly think that you have seen any excessive celebration taking place here," Obama said during a question-and-answer session with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. "I think the American people rightly remember what we as a country accomplished in bringing to justice somebody who killed over 3,000 of our citizens" on Sept. 11, 2001.
Obama was asked about marking the anniversary of when U.S. Navy SEALS stormed bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and killed him, with the reporter noting that likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said anyone, "even Jimmy Carter" could have made that call.
Obama's administration and re-election campaign have touted the killing in several venues recently and critics have called him out for it.
Obama said "everybody take a look at people's previous statements in terms of whether they thought it was appropriate to go into Pakistan and take out bin Laden." During his 2008 bid to be the GOP presidential nominee, Romney expressed doubts about entering an ally's territory and spending millions of dollars to track down and capture one person.
"I said that I'd go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him and I did," Obama said, "If there are others who have said one thing and now suggest they'd do something else, then I'd go ahead and let them explain it. "
He said the anniversary also is a "mark of the excellence of our intelligence teams and our military teams, a political process that worked."
Noda, through a translator, said Obama "has been standing at the very forefront" in fighting terrorism.
"Now, although bin Laden has been killed, terrorism has not been rooted out," Noda said. "I think continued efforts [by the international community] will be needed in combination with the United States."
Millions of Getty images now available for free via embed tool
Boston schools pull out free condoms over wrapping complaints