AFTER AN UPROAR followed Mitt Romney banning U.S. press at his Israeli fundraiser, which broke the agreement the campaign made to the press, the Romney campaign was forced to reverse itself. Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson was expected to attend the event, along with other Americans flying in for the event.
These stories play out as Tina Brown unloads her latest Newsweek cover on Mitt Romney, asking: “The Wimp Factor: Is He Just Too Insecure to Be President?”
From Jonathan Martin on the press reversal:
Mitt Romney’s campaign has reversed a decision to not allow the media into a fundraiser here Monday morning, bowing to reporters’ demand that they be allowed to record the Republican’s address to some of his top donors.
Romney press aide Rick Gorka told the candidate’s travelling press corps Sunday afternoon that they’d be allowed to have a pool reporter at the breakfast event in the King David hotel.
Mr. Romney’s visit to Israel comes as a senior foreign policy adviser Dan Senor, who is closely associated with Pres. Bush’s Iraq policy, makes a line in the sand statement on Iran in order to bolster Romney’s security image.
“Gov. Romney believes we should employ any and all measures to dissuade the Iranian regime from its nuclear course, and it is his fervent hope that diplomatic and economic measures will do so,” said adviser Dan Senor, previewing a speech Romney is scheduled to make Sunday afternoon. “In the final analysis, of course, no option should be excluded. Gov. Romney recognizes Israel’s right to defend itself, and that it is right for America to stand with it.” – Romney would back Israeli strike against Iran, senior adviser says
Israel is a sovereign nation that has every responsibility to defend itself against a clear and present danger that is verifiable. But as we saw with Iraq, the current standards for this aren’t always impressive, let alone based in fact.
That Mr. Romney feels his campaign needs to ratchet up the rhetoric on Iran is once again the age old competition on Who Is More Pro Israel? It does no service to Israel or Middle East peace to have dialogue like this, because it’s really none of our business what Israel does to protect its citizens. It shouldn’t come as a shock that any senior surrogate of a presidential candidate would say “it is right for America to stand with [Israel]”, because anyone hinting otherwise would render their candidate unelectable. But coming as Romney visits Israel, amid a foreign policy trip that’s been a debacle, it’s tantamount to yelling “squirrel!” Translation: Look over here, hint-hint, Romney would engage U.S. military to help Israel on any threat from Iran.
Can’t you already game the foreign policy debate this fall? All fantasy RISK and swagger on a calamitous for all Middle East confrontation, no actual discussion of real foreign policy challenges in the 21st century, beginning with economics, energy and climate change.
It’s interesting that Mr. Romney’s efforts to look tough on national security, while continually revealing his secrecy fetish against transparency, whether it’s with the press or his own disclosure on his tax returns, doesn’t include talks with MI-6. Discussions of these types are rare and expected to not be discussed, let alone personally reported by someone inside the room. But Romney just couldn’t help preening in public.
“I can only say that I appreciated the insights and perspectives of the leaders of the government here and opposition here as well as the head of MI6 as we discussed Syria and the hope for a more peaceful future for that country.” – Mitt Romney, press conference [Daily Caller]
As even the Daily Caller was forced to report, the Brits were not amused, nor should they be. It’s rich that it’s these guys who blasted Obama over the bin Laden raid and information that came out of that killing.
This is all worth noting for the next time the Romney campaign squeals about national security prowess, or leaks, while also remembering they hired a man who was embroiled in the Scooter Libby scandal to be a surrogate on these standards.