Just five days after he disclosed a daring raid that led to Osama bin Laden's death and the day after he laid a wreath at Ground Zero, President Obama traveled to Fort Campbell in Kentucky where he thanked members of Seal Team 6 who were involved in the raid on the terrorist leader's compound. Donning shirtsleeves and tie, the president addressed about 2,500 soldiers in an aircraft hangar and told them "I came here for a simple reason: to say thank you on behalf of America." The "terrorist leader who struck our nation on 9/11 will never threaten our nation again," the president said to cheers from the troops. For Obama, the trip is part of striking a careful balance between touting an achievement that eluded his Republican predecessor and which has been greeted by cheers from a grateful nation while trying not to strike too victorious a tone. Obama himself told CBS News's "60 Minutes," in an segment to be broadcast Sunday night, that he was not releasing the photos of bin Laden's corpse in part because it would have been a boastful, "spike the football" tone. So far the White House approach to the post-bin Laden period seems to be working. The president's approval ratings have soared in any number of polls taken since the raid on bin Laden's Pakistan compound. The White House, though, is fully aware that high unemployment and continued military conflicts could send those numbers back down. While at the base, the president also met members of the 101st Airborne Division, based at Fort Campbell, which has played a vital role in the nation's wars including those in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also met with members of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment known as the "Night Stalkers" which likely provided the helicopter pilots who flew the special forces late at night into Obama's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Behind closed doors, the president awarded those involved in the raid the Presidential Unit Citation, which is given to units showing extraordinary bravery. The bin Laden raid will remain a topic of conversation in Washington and around the nation this weekend, as National Security Advisor Tom Donilon makes the rounds of the Sunday shows, where he's likely to be asked about U.S.-Pakistani relations in the wake of the raid, the changing account of the raid offered by the White House and the efforts to attack al Qaeda now that bin Laden is no more.
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