TPM News

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke at a press conference Monday afternoon at Ground Zero, in response to the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed. In his remarks, Bloomberg congratulated President Obama and proclaimed that bin Laden's death shows that "the forces of freedom and justice have once again prevailed over those who use terror to pursue tyranny."

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Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller (D) has announced that the special election to replace Republican Rep. Dean Heller, who has been appointed to the Senate, will feature a single-round, potentially multi-candidate race in which anybody can file -- a development that could potentially hurt Republican efforts to hold on to the seat if they were to split their votes.

The initial expectation had been that party leaders would select nominees for the race, without a primary -- a scenario that would likely hurt the chances of unsuccessful 2010 Senate nominee Sharron Angle -- but that there was also the possibility of a wide-open race.

A similar election took place in Hawaii last year, in which Democrats split the vote between two candidates against one Republican in a normally very blue district. This helped to elect Republican candidate Charles Djou, who later narrowly lost re-election to a full term in November 2010, when he faced only a single Democrat.

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Given that President Obama's not going to bring the war in Afghanistan to an early end as the result of Osama bin Laden's death, a key question is whether his administration will green light a robust troop drawdown starting in July, or whether the withdrawal will happen more slowly, as some in his administration would like.

That's the pivot, and there will be increasing pressure on Obama from Democrats to use bin Laden's death in Pakistan to make the case for a swifter reduction.

TPM SLIDESHOW: Osama Bin Laden: 9/11 Mastermind, Longtime U.S. Enemy Killed In Pakistan

"I think there's going to be a lot of strong feeling on the part of most Democrats and many, I think many independents, and even some Republicans that the decision of the President to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan should be a robust reduction," Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) told reporters on a conference call with reporters Monday afternoon. "I don't think that's going to change, and I don't expect the decision of the President -- his instinct to have a reduction, and I believe a robust reduction following conversations with him -- that that instinct would be reinforced."

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[Late Update: The White House has backed off some of the details of John Brennan's account. More here.]

The President and his national security team spent Sunday afternoon and evening huddling in the West Wing of the White House filled with anxiety while they followed in real time the covert operations of an elite team of Navy Seals penetrating Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan and killing him with shots to the head.

"It was probably the most anxiety-filled periods of times," John Brennan, a chief counterterrorism adviser to President Obama, told reporters Monday in a White House briefing. "The minutes passed like days, and the President was very concerned about the security of our personnel."

TPM SLIDESHOW: Behind The Scenes As Operation Against Bin Laden Unfolded

"It was clearly very tense with a lot of people holding their breath," Brennan recalled, obviously still soaking in the full weight of the raid and the impact of bin Laden's death on the global war on terror. "There was a great degree of silence as we would get the updates. We were finally informed, and there was a tremendous sigh of relief -- that what we believed about the compound and who we believed was in the compound" were in fact true.

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Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is exploring a run for president, released a statement this afternoon on the killing of Osama bin Laden, calling it a "significant victory in the long struggle between radical Islamists and modern civilization."

"I commend both President George W. Bush who led the campaign against our enemies through seven long years and President Obama who continued and intensified the campaign in both Afghanistan and Pakistan," said Gingrich. "We should remember to thank those who made this possible. Without the courage and professionalism of our men and women in uniform and in the intelligence services, this victory would not have been achieved."

Gingrich also added, however, that the battle against terrorism is not over: "As long as there are schools teaching children to hate; as long as there are state-supported terrorist systems; as long as several countries actively recruit children to be suicide bombers; this war will continue."

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Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum -- who's been running hard lately as the foreign policy guy in the prospective 2012 Republican presidential field -- told a reporter in Iowa today that when you really think about it, taking out Osama Bin Laden's not really that big a deal in the scheme of things.

"Congratulations, well done, well orchestrated," Santorum told the Des Moines Register before an event with voters. "That's one isolated area as opposed to the president's foreign policy and how it's affecting our security. The president's foreign policy with respect to our security is to make our allies less confident in us and has resulted in them in distancing themselves from us."

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Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who chairs the Senate's Homeland Security Committee, warned Americans on Monday to be vigilant against homegrown radicals who may improvise attacks in response to Osama Bin Laden's death.

"My own great concern in the days ahead is that a so-called 'lone wolf,' a single individual who has been radicalized, will now mobilize himself or herself to take action here at home against the American people," he said at a press conference with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) to discuss the Bin Laden raid.

While the threat level has not been raised as there is no specific evidence of any credible threats, Lieberman said that he was concerned Bin Laden's demise could inspire an attack along the lines of the Ft. Hood massacre, in which a radicalized individual soldier killed 13 people. He urged Americans to be especially vigilant in reporting any leads to authorities in the coming days.

"This is a classic 'If you see something, say something' moment," he said. "If you see suspicious behavior, call the police immediately -- and that includes if you see suspicious behavior by someone who is a friend or family member."

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1||May 2, 2011: Late Sunday night, President Obama announced in a live press conference from the White House that American forces had killed Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, had been sought by the U.S. for over a decade, dating back to the waning years of the Clinton administration. ||AFP/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom&&

2||This undated file photo, taken sometime around 1990, shows Bin Laden at a time when he and rebel forces were fighting to reclaim Afghanistan from the Soviets. ||Balkis Press/ABACAUSA.COM/Newscom&&

3||The Saudi-born Bin Laden, shown here in the late 1980s, led the Mujahideen against Soviet forces, with the help of American arms and finances. ||Balkis Press/ABACAUSA.COM/Newscom&&

4||By the late 1990s, then at the helm of Al Qaeda, Bin Laden helped orchestrate the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya, Tanzania, and Dar es Salaam. || ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom&&

5||The U.S. embassy bombings, carried out by Al Qaeda in 1998, killed over 200 civilians, and led to the F.B.I. to place bin Laden on their most wanted list. ||AFP/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom&&

6||In the wake of Al Qaeda's attacks on American embassies in Africa, President Clinton launched military strikes against suspected terrorist sites in Sudan and Afghanistan. The attack on Sudan mistakenly hit a pharmaceutical factory. ||White House UPI Photo Service/Newscom&&

7||On September 11, 2001, Al Qaeda carried out the deadliest attack on American soil in the nation's history. ||z03/z03/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

8||Following the 9/11 attacks, President Bush launched what would become a decade-long mission to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden. The attacks also formed the basis for Bush's War on Terror, a national security policy that would come to define his presidency. ||U.S. Department of Defense&&

9||Days after the September 11 attacks, President Bush went to Ground Zero in New York City to address rescue workers and call for a swift counterstrike against Al Qaeda. ||Eric Draper - White House via CNP/Newscom&&

10||With American and international forces hunting him, Bin Laden went into hiding, appearing infrequently in videotaped addresses leaked to the media. || RICHARD B. LEVINE/RICHARD B. LEVINE/Newscom&&

11||In an undated Al Qaeda video, Bin Laden was shown firing a rifle. ||Balkis Press/ABACAUSA.COM/Newscom&&

12||An undated photo of Osama Bin Laden.||Balkis Press/ABACAUSA.COM/Newscom&&

13||Bin Laden, in a cave in the Jalalabad region of Afghanistan in 1988. ||Balkis Press/ABACAUSA.COM/Newscom&&

14||Bin Laden, in a video released just prior to the two-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. ||Balkis Press/ABACAUSA.COM/Newscom&&

15||Late at night, on Sunday, May 1, 2011, President Obama announced that U.S. forces had found and killed Osama Bin Laden, ending a decade-long manhunt. ||BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/EFE/Newsco&&

16||The fortified compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan where Bin Laden had been hiding. ||VISUAL NEWS/SIPA/VISUAL NEWS/SIPA/Newscom&&

17||Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, another Al Qaeda leader, in an undated image. Some have speculated that al-Zawahiri will succeed Bin Laden as the head of Al Qaeda.||Balkis Press/ABACAUSA.COM/Newscom&&

18||Bin Laden, shown in the early 2000s in an interview with a Pakistani journalist. ||AUSAF/SIPA/AUSAF/SIPA/Newscom&&

19||Bin Laden in an undated photograph. ||AFP/Getty Images/Newscom&&

20||Despite having taken out bin Laden, President Obama warned the country that the threat of international terror still remains.||z03/z03/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&