Johanns is planning a bid to replace Sen. Hagel.
(CNN) – Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney doesn’t even want Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be allowed in the country next week. So perhaps it would have been safe to predict he wouldn’t have a warm response to Ahmadinejad’s request to visit the site of the World Trade Center attack.
New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters today that Ahmadinejad has asked to visit Ground Zero when he is New York next week for the U.N. General Assembly. CNN’s Deborah Feyerick reports Kelly said the NYPD is "engaging in conversation" about a possible Ground Zero visit. Kelly said it is likely Ahmadinejad would not be allowed into the pit area, since construction resumed immediately following the anniversary ceremony last week. Instead, the Iranian president would likely view the area from the same positions currently open to all visitors.
Romney, campaigning in Florida Wednesday, issued a statement calling for the visit to be denied. He said, "Ahmadinejad's shockingly audacious request should be met with a vehement no. It's inconceivable that any consideration would be given to the idea of entertaining the leader of a state sponsor of terror at Ground Zero. This would deeply offend the sensibilities of Americans from all corners of our nation. Instead of entertaining Ahmadinejad, we should be indicting him."
On Monday, Romney sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, saying the invitation should be withdrawn. He said that if Ahmadinejad is allowed to visit, as he did last year, “the United States must reconsider its level of support and funding for the United Nations.”
– CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk