'Gutsy' Obama reaps rewards of 'getting' Osama
Obama got Osama.
That's what some people chanted when the news of Osama Bin Laden's killing broke. But will it have any impact on the President Barack Obama's politics and popularity?
Mr Obama has gone out of his way to stress that "get Bin Laden" was his direct instruction and that the arch villain's death is, in part, his victory. White House officials are doing all they can to capitalise on what looks like a mood of nationwide elation.
Any president who "got" Bin Laden would benefit. Former President Bill Clinton's efforts were mocked by George W Bush. Then he failed too, losing Bin Laden in the caves along the border land, as US soldiers stood by.
But perhaps Mr Obama will benefit more than most. His style of decision making is to take time, to deliberate, to chew over every option. His critics call it dithering. There are now some excellent "tick tocks" as they are called here - blow by blow accounts of the decision making process. But you always have to remember all sources are in the circle, and liable to portray the president positively. It sounds as if Mr Obama gave this decision as much time and thought as all the others but away from the public gaze.
Not only did Mr Obama's security advisor John Brennan praise him, but Republicans have even called his decision "gutsy". He did not simply go for bombs or drones but rather a helicopter raid. One insider is quoted as saying that Black Hawk Down was mentioned a few times in the discussions. When that helicopter did go down, Mr Obama surely thought of Jimmy Carter and Iran.
So he's a risk taker, too. It also makes him look focused on what is truly in the US's national interest. You can argue Iraq wasn't, Libya wasn't, even Afghanistan no longer is. But getting the head of al-Qaeda clearly was a number one priority in the minds of many Americans, and Mr Obama decided it was his as well.
Even habitual enemies, indeed even Rush Limbaugh, have praised him. At a reception for Republicans and Democrats last night, he got a standing ovation.
So the wind is behind him. Whence will he sail? At a White House dinner for members of Congress, he used Bin Laden's killing as a call for unity.
He said: "We were reminded again that there is a pride in what this nation stands for, and what we can achieve, that runs far deeper than party, far deeper than politics."
From Bin Laden, he moved effortlessly to domestic public enemy number one, the deficit. "It is my fervent hope that we can harness some of that unity and some of that pride to confront the many challenges that we still face," Mr Obama said.
On Thursday, Mr Obama will travel to New York City to remember those who died in Bin Laden's assault on America. I expect more talk of unity but perhaps some big foreign policy themes as well. There are those who think the halo of success makes it easier for the president to confront a military that wants July's Afghanistan wind-down to be small and fairly insignificant. Others, however, think the momentum runs the other way, and that it gives all the more reason to stay and finish the job.
So the killing sends waves that will wash against these shores and those of a wider world. Some are saying this moment assures Mr Obama's re-election. It assures no such thing.
Apart from the obvious point that there can be many other unexpected events that will have an impact, positive or negative, It just doesn't work like that. However huge this event snow seems, wait a couple of months. In the relentless frenzy of the 24-hour media cycle, it will probably be half forgotten by the the time of the election.
This far out, only events that mean change to people's lives on a day-to-day basis have that sort of game changing impact. But image is important. The president has burnished his in the eyes of many Americans and looks like a resolute commander-in-chief. He knows it, and intends to milk the moment for all it is worth.