In a speech in January, Mitt Romney laid out his policy on Israel. “I think, by and large, you can just look at the things the president has done and do the opposite,” he said.
But given a perfect opportunity to expand on just what "the opposite" might be, Romney avoided specifics during his speech on Sunday in Jerusalem. In fact, despite several interviews and addresses, Romney has yet to fully explain his position in detail.
Romney stood beside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he asserted that “all the sanctions and diplomacy so far have not set back the Iranian program by one iota.” Yet in an interview with ABC News, Romney also said sanctions “are beginning to have a greater impact on Iran,” and said he’d like to have seen the sanctions come earlier.
Romney and his campaign also spent time clarifying an adviser's remark that was interpreted as giving Israel a green light to attack Iran.
Of course, Romney was careful not to criticize Obama’s efforts directly while abroad, saying he’d rather not pick apart U.S. policy while standing on foreign soil. But in the end, he offered little during his stay to explain what “the opposite” is, a fact not lost on Obama’s campaign. “Romney and his team have failed to outline what that actually means,” read one email.
Romney may have missed an opportunity in Israel to stake out a definitive position and state it clearly. Of course, specific policies can invite specific criticisms from Democrats. And there are still months to go before Election Day. But with a recent poll showing Obama 15 points ahead of Romney on the question of who can better handle foreign policy, there is little time to waste.
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Romney and Obama Strain to Show Gap on Foreign Policy
[New York Times, 7/28/12] Mitt Romney hasn't offered many specifics on foreign policy, but those which he has provided are close to President Obama's, indicating that voters will likely judge the two on style, rather than substance, when it comes to their foreign policy prowess.
Romney: ‘No Option Should Be Excluded’
Seeking to further extinguish questions about his support for an Israeli military strike on Iran, Romney said on Sunday in Jerusalem that "no option should be excluded," but repeated the caveat that he hopes diplomatic and economic measures will work first. He also sought to clarify an advisor's comments on the matter.
Romney Hopes Polish Visit Can Pay Dividends in Swing States
[National Journal, 7/29/12] Mitt Romney's trip to Poland on Monday -- the last stop on his three-country, six-day foreign tour -- offers him a chance to bolster his image as a competent diplomat, something he could use after his gaffe-filled stint in London. But the real potential prize lies at home: more votes from the Polish-American and Catholic communities.
Romney Hopes Israel Trip Boosts Evangelical, Jewish Votes
[L.A. Times, 7/29/12] Romney's visit to Israel is likely geared to woo voters back home, not just at create diplomatic ties with Israeli leaders.
3 Takes on Mitt Romney's London Visit
[National Journal, 7/28/12] National Journal's Josh Kraushaar, Caren Bohan and Michael Hirsh all weigh in on Romney's gaffe-filled first stop on his international tour.
Romney’s Rude Awakening
[National Journal, 7/28/12] On paper, Mitt Romney’s first overseas trip as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee looked brilliantly plotted. But misstep after misstep indicates Romney didn't quite realize what he was getting himself into with his international tour.
Obama Gives It Another College Try
[Wall Street Journal, 7/28/12] Using social media and the Internet, the Obama campaign is attempting to invigorate young voters as it did in 2008.
Presidential Also-Rans Stiff Small Businesses
[Politico, 7/29/12] Many former GOP presidential contenders closed out their campaigns in deep debt, and have therefore been unable to pay back some small business owners who helped them along the way -- the same demographic many of them claimed to want to aid.
Obama, Romney Contrasts Clear on Insurance
[National Journal, 7/28/12] Health care is one place where a comparison between Obama and Romney’s health policies can be easily seen. And it fits right in with the narrative the Obama campaign has been weaving: Obama is for the everyman, and Romney is for the rich.
Romney, Obama Advisers Face Off Over London Gaffe
[National Journal, 7/29/12] Top advisers to both presidential candidates squared off on Sunday over Romney’s overseas trip, with Romney adviser Kevin Madden arguing that his candidate's well-publicized gaffes abroad will have no bearing on the election and Obama adviser Robert Gibbs saying they indicate he’s not ready for the presidency.
Romney Not Worried About 'The Wimp Factor'
[National Journal, 7/29/12] Mitt Romney may object to some labels, but apparently calling him a "wimp" is not one of them.