Obama aides: President will visit Israel in a second term
July 23rd, 2012
01:27 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama aides: President will visit Israel in a second term

(CNN) – President Barack Obama, if elected to a second term, would visit Israel, something he has not done since taking office-according to Obama campaign aides.

In a conference call with reporters Monday, Colin Kahl, the former deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, said "we can expect him to visit Israel in a second term should he be elected."

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Republicans have criticized the president for not making the trek to visit the United States' valued ally.

Earlier Monday, John Bolton, a former U.S ambassador to the United Nations and a foreign policy adviser for GOP challenger Mitt Romney, also criticized Obama for not visiting the country, saying though the president has had time to fit in round after round of golf, "he has not had time to fit into his busy schedule even one trip to Israel."

In response to criticism, Kahl continued: "The president has been to Israel multiple times, but more than that he's backed up his words with feats," noting, among other accomplishments in the region, funding of the 'Iron Dome' missile defense system, put in place to intercept rockets entering Israel.

Obama aides were quick to highlight former Republican presidents' track records on visiting Israel - Ronald Reagan, who never went as president and George W. Bush - who traveled to Israel twice during the last year of his second term.

With the start of Romney's overseas trip, which includes a stop in Israel, just a few days away, the Obama campaign sought to emphasize their rival candidate's resistance to lay out a specific plan for the country's foreign policy.

The former Massachusetts governor's campaign has said that the focus of the candidate's trip will be to "listen and learn" and will not engage in a policy discussion. Despite this, senior Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs said voters will be looking for Romney to lay out a more specific foreign policy plan "rather than just generalities and sound bites."

The Romney campaign responded with this statement issued shortly after the call.

"In no region of the world is our country's influence any stronger than it was four years ago. President Obama has failed to restore our economy, is weakening our military with devastating defense cuts, and has diminished our moral authority. Governor Romney will restore the pillars of American strength to secure our interest and defend our values," said Romney Campaign spokesman Ryan Williams, referring to the Obama campaign's criticism of Romney's attacks on the administration's policy in Israel.

The president's campaign also hammered Romney's plan to hold a fund-raiser while in London, saying Obama himself did not do an overseas fund-raiser during a similar trip when he was campaigning for the White House in 2008.

The Romney campaign pushed back against this argument, citing a Berlin speech Obama gave on his 2008 trip where shortly after campaign manager David Plouffe used the speech to solicit for funds.

Romney is set to begin his travels Wednesday, making an appearance at the London Olympic Games, Israel and Poland all the while meeting with top foreign political figures, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Fisher

    He has been to busy attacking Israel with every other speech he mentions them. I am sure he has much love for the muslim brotherhood – you know his roots.

    July 23, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  2. CalmerVoice

    Let Obama visit Israel as a private citizen. Enough of "I"ll do this and that". So far mostly negative things have been done.

    July 23, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  3. Wilson

    To little, to late. Pretty sad when the incumbent is, at best, tied with the challenger. Doesn't bode well for Obama's re-election chances.

    July 23, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    A war of words against President Obama and Israel is politics at it's worst because President Obama like any other President can stop any funding to Israel if he didn't support Israel. If Mitt Romney has to time to visit Israel he has time to submit his Tax Returns unless they're in Israel.

    July 23, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of OBAMA FAILURE

    Geez, couldn't he come up with something better to pander to the jewish vote? Bestowing the honor of his presence if they vote for him? really?? Or is he goin gover there to meet with his buddies, the Palestinians?

    July 23, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. tellin it like it is

    well theres a trip he won't be taking...

    July 23, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. eazy

    I hope the President gets re-elected and visit Israel!

    If Romney wins, even the GOP knows that we are going to war with Iran. It's not that we won't destroy Iran, it's that we will also destroy what's left of the US economy.

    We need a passionate and rational leader.

    July 23, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  8. Al-NY,NY

    Oh no!! He hasn't visited yet!......That means he HATES Israel and will throw them under the bus to appease the Palestinians at the first chance he gets.......GOP talking points

    July 23, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  9. demwit

    Yeah, Obama will have more time to negotiate Israel's surrender aftet the election.

    July 23, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  10. n

    Refusing to see beyond your blind rage of hate and resentment for this president, we ignore Romney's questionable character on every issue. His actions are in conflict with his mantra. Romney is totally flawed. Ok, Romney is a big fat lier . . . It is the child like truth, plain as day. Nothing intellectual about the ins and outs or Romney, he is just filled with darkness, he walks in the shadow of his own hidden misdeeds as he refuses to bring into the light, his self serving agenda. Romney is not the one to lead this great country. Romney is a conflict of interest. Period.

    July 23, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  11. Expat American

    He has been to busy attacking Israel with every other speech he mentions them. I am sure he has much love for the muslim brotherhood – you know his roots.
    ----
    Laughable and ridiculous.

    July 23, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  12. Tree

    Am so sick of hearing about Israel , this and that.........the country is getting rich off the US. There has to be some changes.....Israel is the US pimp. . Let there be changes. The Middle East has been fighting for years and years its time for I Israel to fight their own fight without any US help. Stop giving them monies, and use that monies here in the US.............

    July 23, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  13. Nobama

    He will make the visit in Romney's first term as a private citizen!

    July 23, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  14. Four and The Door

    He found time to visit Saudi Arabia and Egypt this term. Why not Israel? Maybe he would be worried about a rocket attack from the Palestinians, but I don't see why... he gave them $400 million in 2010.

    July 23, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  15. Two Of AKind -

    An other cheap, certain-to-be-broken Obama "promise" for the Jewish vote.

    He ALREADY told a foreigner, Medvedev, that he's GOING to be re-elected in November 8 months BEFORE one American citizen exercises their democratic RIGHT to elect a President [UNHEARD of by any other American President] so what AREN'T the American people being told?

    I love America and I think -no, I KNOW – that the wonderful American people deserve BETTER thanthis.!

    July 23, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA has a FAILURE PROBLEM

    Yes, I'm sure Netanyahu is real eager fro Obama to come visit after that insulting comment Obama made about having to deal with him every day. I think Netanyahu is far more eager to have President Romney made his first visit there.

    July 23, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. Jon

    It looks like Obama will not be going to Isreal ... especially if he is going to wait for a second term ...

    July 23, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. amf140

    WOW. So that will be twice in eight years. What a way to treat an ally in the most chaotic part of the world. Look out Isreal, the bus is coming and you're going under it.

    July 23, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  19. Obama 2012 - MOVE Forward America, NOT another round of DUBYA's FAILURES

    @Nobama – He will make the visit in Romney's first term as a private citizen!
    --------------------------------
    Which is exactly what Obama was saying. Nice to see that some on the right don't believe Mittens has a chance either. Hahahaha.. !!

    July 23, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  20. Obama Incompetence Clown Show - Final performance Jan. 2013

    Why isn't Obama promising to visit his buddies the Muslim Brotherhood, in Egypt??? I mean he threw our long time ally Mubarack, under the bus and handed the country over to the radical Islamists. Why isn't Obama going over there for a victory lap and a ball spike?

    July 23, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  21. Four and The Door

    In a conference call with reporters Monday, Colin Kahl, the former deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, said "we can expect him to visit Israel in a second term should he be elected."
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________
    Weak. So weak of a statement it borders on pathetic. One thing we learn from all of the audio that comes out of the Obama camp during an election year is that he forgets pretty much everything very quickly and conveniently once the votes are counted.

    July 23, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  22. Patrick Portland

    Israel should consider itself lucky – if we only we had the opportunity to ask Obama not to visit – really not that much of an honor to be honest. Shouldn't be a surprise...Israel is a democracy & not muslim. Obama only goes to the region to apologize to our enemies & visit his relatives.

    July 23, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    "Republicans have criticized the president for not making the trek to visit the United States' valued ally. "
    ------------------–
    Don't you have to be invited? Netanyahu was invited here, showed up, and wagged his finger in the President's face as if he were a little child. Twisted Pres. Obama's words into an anit-Israel meaning, and then repeated the Pres. Obama's words, almost verbatim, to the US Congress to a standing ovation.

    Netanyahu is a hard line, right wing conservative, along the lines of Dick Cheney. He's not extending any invitations to someone that he percieves as a pacifist.

    July 23, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  24. Peace

    @Jon

    It looks like Obama will not be going to Isreal ... especially if he is going to wait for a second term ...
    ---------
    In other words this means in 3 months time. Is this too far/long for you to wait?????

    July 23, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  25. Marty, FL

    While there are some here with dark wishes of dishonesty and ill will, many other Americans choose to wish our president continued successes in foreign policy. Godspeed.

    July 23, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
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