We just saw a raw display of the power of the presidency in an election year.
Mitt Romney and other Republicans may gripe that President Barack Obama tries to politicize the May 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. special forces.
But only Obama could secretly take Air Force One to Kabul to sign a strategic-partnership accord with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and meet with U.S. troops on the anniversary of bin Laden's death.
Heading into a long lull before the late-August GOP convention, the presumptive GOP nominee may find it hard to keep himself in the headlines. Obama just has to do presidential things to seize attention.
Also, Obama makes full use of the Internet to pound home campaign themes.
The official White House web site (www.whitehouse.gov ) quickly declared: "The Way Forward in Afghanistan. During a surprise visit to Afghanistan, President Obama discusses a historic strategic partnership that will help guide our future relationship with the country." Naturally, there's a video link.
Also highlighted on the site: "We Can't Wait" trumpeting how Obama is using executive orders to bypass a lethargic Congress; and "Don't Double My Rate," reinforcing his appeal to extend a rate cut on federally backed student loans due to expire in July.
Meanwhile, Obama's re-election campaign Wednesday released an 80-second web video of clips of Newt Gingrich criticizing Romney — timed to coincide with Gingrich's exit from the race. The former House speaker is "frankly, not Mitt Romney's biggest supporter," the ad taunts.
Romney's more subdued web site (www.mittromney.com ) features a request for contributions and an appeal to "help me fight for the America we love."
Appearing Wednesday in Chantilly, Va., Romney focused on the economy. Under Obama "the pain continues," he said.
It's hard to compete with Air Force One.