Romney to Travel to Israel, Germany, Great Britain, Poland

Politico announced yesterday “a major foreign policy offensive” in their article titled, Exclusive: Romney weighs foreign-policy tour by Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin.

The article stresses that Governor Romney is still planning exactly which stops to make and may include five or more nations (until I read this, I had not realized that President Obama has never visited Israel as President!). Tentatively, these include Great Britain, Israel, Germany, Poland, and possibly Afghanistan. Plans are expected to be finalized this next week and Romney will kick off the tour with a “news-making” speech at the VFW convention in Reno. Following are excerpts from the Politico article.

Great Britain

The presumptive GOP nominee then is slated to travel to London for the start of the Olympics and to give a speech in Great Britain on U.S. foreign policy.
[...]
The trip to London provides Romney with the chance to both reinforce America’s “special relationship” with the United Kingdom and to remind voters of his leadership role in rescuing the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Israel (Middle East)

Readers that are new to MRC may have missed two prior posts by Jacob Kornbluh about Israel. His post of April 27th references the 36-year friendship between Governor Romney and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and just four days ago he wrote about Romney’s plans to visit Israel this summer. The Politico article continues,

Romney next would fly to Israel for a series of meetings and appearances with key Israeli and Palestinian officials.
[...]
Still, he [Bill Kristol] said Romney could make more of his trip to the Mideast with other stops beyond Israel.

“I think it would be nice if he went to Afghanistan,” Kristol said. “I think it would be nice if he visited the troops defending the country. I think it would be nice if he went in a very apolitical way.”
[...]
Then there will be an unspoken if obvious contrast when the Republican visits Israel, a country that Obama has yet to go to as president and the first place abroad Romney has said he’ll travel to if he wins in November.

In Israel, Romney will, as was first reported by The New York Times, meet with people across the ideological spectrum. He’ll sit down with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but also the Labor opposition, Obama’s envoy to Tel Aviv, Ambassador Dan Shapiro, and the head of the Palestinian Authority. These sit-downs will help Romney push back against the idea that he’s merely in the Jewish state to curry favor with an influential political constituency. But even Republicans are candid about what the Israel trip could mean for the campaign.

“There are a lot of donors and potentially a few voters in places like Florida for which it sticks in people’s craw that Obama hasn’t been there yet,” said one informal foreign policy adviser to Romney’s campaign. It is also a place that resonates with the party’s evangelical base.

Germany

Romney officials are hoping to arrange a meeting between the candidate and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. While Merkel and Obama have been in frequent contact recently over the European debt crisis, she generally favors a policy of austerity that varies from Obama’s support for government stimulus spending.

Poland

Romney’s trek to Poland may not offer the same political dividends but will be as symbolically weighted given recent events and the Republican’s tough talk about Russia.

While Bush famously praised the Polish contribution — “You forgot Poland” — to the Iraq War, the relationship between Obama and Warsaw has not been as warm.

The Poles were angry when Obama in 2009, on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland, announced plans to back out of a missile shield agreement and have been more generally uneasy about the administration’s “reset” policy toward Moscow.

More recently, Obama infuriated Poles when he misspoke in a White House ceremony and referred to “Polish death camps” when referring to Nazi concentration camps. Then there was the president’s hot mic moment with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev earlier this year where Obama said he’d “have more flexibility” to deal with missile defense in a second term.

“There’s this sense that America is looking elsewhere, and then there are these horrendous misstatements,” said Andrew Michta, senior transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund and director of the think tank’s office in Warsaw, on the view among Polish elites toward the U.S. administration. “There’s a general perception that the United States is putting distance between itself and Europe. In central Europe, you feel this.”

Michta also noted that Obama has yet to speak at a public event in the country — a contrast with both Bush and former President Bill Clinton.

Romney has taken a hard-line stance toward Moscow, saying after Obama’s overheard conversation with Medvedev that Russia is America’s “No. 1 geopolitical foe.” The remark was seized on by Democrats and criticized by some Republicans as an overreach. Still, other Republicans argue there is enough merit to the claim that Russia needs to be viewed with suspicion that Romney shouldn’t abandon the argument altogether.

I was excited to hear about this “foreign-policy” trip Governor Romney is planning. There are so many advantages to such a trip aside from the obvious. Most important to me is the opportunity Governor Romney will have to meet with world leaders, one on one to discuss international issues with an eye to the future.

This reminds me of the naive statements Mr. Obama made in 2007 and 2008 when he scolded President Bush for not solving the Iranian crisis by extending the hand of friendship to Iran and through diplomatic negotiation — how is that working out Mr. President? Americans are embarrassed by Mr. Obama’s passive and apologetic foreign policy. President Romney will not take a passive approach to foreign policy.


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Mitt Romney in London, England: Raises Funds, Meets with British Officials

British Houses of Parliament (Big Ben on Right) on a foggy evening in London, England.

British Houses of Parliament (Big Ben at right) on a foggy evening in London, England.

He’s across the pond!

After Mitt Romney’s campaign released news that his second quarter fundraising totals far out-paced that of his rivals, we note that Gov Romney flew to London, England for additional fundraising. An evening reception at Dartmouth House enabled him to meet with American citizens and/or those holding green cards.

The Gov also met with British government officials:

LONDON July 6, 2022

Mitt Romney told reporters outside a lavish town house in the heart of the upscale Mayfair neighborhood on Wednesday evening that he was “meeting a few friends” while in London

The event’s co-chairmen and co-chairwomen included the hedge fund billionaire Louis Bacon, the New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and two dozen others, mostly drawn from London’s still-booming financial sector.
[...]
A statement about the reception from the Romney campaign referred to his support among “Americans living abroad,” and touched on issues like the weak economy and slow job market in the United States, but did not mention fund-raising outright.

Outside the event, as he buttoned his dark suit, Mr. Romney told reporters that he was in London for meetings with officials. He met Wednesday with former Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife, Cherie, as well as Britain’s minister of defense, Liam Fox, with whom, he said, he discussed “global affairs.”
[...]
A British government official who requested anonymity to discuss a private meeting said Mr. Romney would also be meeting with Britain’s national security adviser, Peter Ricketts, and other officials Thursday afternoon. Prime Minister David Cameron “might stop by,” the official said, though there were no concrete plans for the two men to meet.

(emphasis added)

Check back for updates!

UPDATE - Romney campaign advisor Eric Fehrnstrom:

“There is a lot of interest in this election among Americans living abroad who like everyone else are worried about what the weak economy and lack of jobs means for our status in the world. [...] They want to know if we are going to lead the world economically or become something less. To a large degree Mitt Romney because he is well known as someone who has the skills to turn the economy around.”



► Jayde Wyatt

The Romney Campaign Releases “In America: Anything is Possible”, Gets Great News in South Carolina and Debates Piers Morgan

scroll to the bottom of this post for part 2 of the Piers Morgan interview with Ann and Mitt…

Right before the commercial break preceding the beginning of the interview with Gov. Romney, Piers Morgan segues from the Anthony Weiner story by saying Gov. Romney might be the cleanest politician in America. Part 1 of the interview with Piers Morgan was tonight and Part 2 is tomorrow. CNN has only released the following online so far, but we’ll post both parts in their entirety as they become available.

I have to say this interview was exciting. Piers Morgan is a tough interview and the more he pushed and prodded Mitt, the better Mitt ended up doing. It must get boring answering the same questions interview after interview and Gov. Romney really seemed engaged and excited to be tested a bit more than he usually is in interviews. I love that Mitt is using the argument that our cartoon so well illustrates a lot more now.

As reported here, PPP is going to release a poll of South Carolinians that shows some very good news for Mitt tomorrow! Interesting that the media continues to say Mitt is such a weak front-runner than shouldn’t even bother competing in Iowa or South Carolina. Tomorrow’s poll will probably show that reality tells a different story than the media has been.

UPDATE - It’s Official… Mitt Romney is up in South Carolina!

Given the choices of Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, and Mitt Romney, who would you most like to see as the Republican candidate for President next year?

Mitt Romney 27%
Sarah Palin 18%
Herman Cain 12%
Newt Gingrich 12%
Michele Bachmann 9%
Ron Paul 7%
Tim Pawlenty 4%
Jon Huntsman 2%
Someone else/Undecided 9%

WITHOUT Palin:
Mitt Romney 30%
Herman Cain 15%
Newt Gingrich 15%
Michele Bachmann 13%
Ron Paul 10%
Tim Pawlenty 5%
Jon Huntsman 2%
Someone else/Undecided 11%

Some of Part 2 of Gov. and Ann Romney’s interview with Piers Morgan below the fold: (more…)