Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Will Romney Visit Israel This Summer?

"Bush didn’t travel to Israel until the final year of his presidency, while Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush never went during their times in office. President Jimmy Carter did go there as did President Clinton, who visited during his first term."

According to The Hill, the GOP consensus appears to be Romney can shame Obama, boost foreign policy credentials with Israel trip.

Republicans apparently see no downside:
“It would be a good visit for him,” said National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas).

...“It’s a very good idea, but strike the right tone,” said Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). “Do not utter Barack Obama’s name with regard to policy in Israel. He can go there and reiterate his record, build some confidence in the Israeli people and send a message to Americans [about] what kind of a relationship he would have and what kind of policy he would have towards Israel.”

“It’s not just a political thing, it’s the right thing to do,” said Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.). “I think the most important title the president has is commander-in-chief and you need to be able to go out there to some of those critical areas.”

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said that while he knows “the schedule is tight” for Romney, a trip would “absolutely” be a good idea.
On the other hand, Congressional Democrats are apparently divided on whether Obama should be making the trip leading up to November--possibly because they don't want to play up the idea and possibly put Obama in a bad light if he should decide not to make the trip before the election.

But for Romney:
  • He gets to strengthen his ties with the Jewish communities in states such as Florida and Nevada where Jews make up 5% of the vote in key, contested states.

  • He renews his friendship with Netanyahu--which will only serve to highlight the fact that Obama has not been getting along with the Israeli Prime Minister from the beginning.

  • He strengthens the international side of his resume, which is week compared to his background on the economic side

  • He can attract money from Jewish donors

  • He strengthens his ties to the pro-Israel Evangelical Christians
And yet for all of that, there has been no indication from the Romney camp that he plans to visit Israel during his campaign. Instead, they point out that Romney has visited Israel 3 times--the last time in 2011.

Over the next few months, if the race remains tight, we could very well see Romney making a trip to Israel--which will give Obama yet another opportunity to tell us that he is the best friend Israel has ever had.

Hat tip: Jennifer Rubin

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