The daring US Navy rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips from Somali pirates yesterday earned President Obama a key credit: He didn't screw it up, Michael Shear writes in the Washington Post. Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter both suffered for their early missteps abroad, in Haiti and Iran, respectively. "Had yesterday's rescue at sea gone badly, the political damage for Obama might have been severe," writes Shear.
The rescue vindicated Obama's "muted but determined handling of the incident," which included bringing in officials to cover judicial elements of the standoff and granting Navy officers authority to strike, writes Jennifer Loven in the AP. Even Wall Street Journal editors complimented Obama: "No doubt he would have been criticized in some quarters—though not by us—had Captain Phillips been killed once the order was given to shoot the pirates."