Romney in Israel to discuss Iran, which aide calls world’s ‘biggest foreign policy challenge’
July 28th, 2012
04:57 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney in Israel to discuss Iran, which aide calls world’s ‘biggest foreign policy challenge’

Tel Aviv, Israel (CNN) - In the latest leg of what’s become a high stakes overseas tour, Mitt Romney arrived in Israel late Saturday night to address the issue of Iran – or, as one of his aides described it, “the biggest foreign policy challenge the world faces.”

“I think, above all, the Iran challenge is something that will be a topic of discussion with Israeli officials over the next day,” Romney adviser Lanhee Chen said in a briefing to reporters on the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s charter flight to Israel.

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The former Massachusetts governor is scheduled to hold a lengthy series of meetings with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders on Sunday, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The governor always enjoys seeing the prime minister,” Chen said.

Romney will deliver a major foreign policy address Sunday evening. But his advisers cautioned the likely GOP nominee plans to stick to his pledge to avoid any criticism of President Barack Obama, who he is trying to unseat, while he’s on foreign soil.

He will also hold a fundraiser in Israel, which a campaign aide said Saturday that reporters will not be allowed to cover. That decision is a change in practice from an agreement the campaign and media outlets, including CNN, reached with the campaign last spring.

Aides to the candidate briefly taped up an Israeli flag on board the plane before its departure from Britain on Saturday, then lowered it as reporters began taking photographs.

Romney’s advisers had little to say about the uproar that erupted in Britain earlier in the week, when the candidate appeared to question London’s readiness to host the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

“Different folks have lots of different opinions about what happened,” Chen told reporters. He declined to comment on a report in the New York Times, which said an unnamed adviser blamed the mishap on “jet lag.”

Away from the Olympics controversy, Romney’s advisers said the GOP contender’s biggest takeaway from his visit with British officials is the U.K.’s growing worries about the ailing European economy.

“The concern about the European economy is very real,” Chen said.

Romney was accompanied on his journey to Israel by his wife and son, Josh, along with a small group of advisers.

The candidate did not address reporters on the five-hour flight from Britain to Tel Aviv.

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Filed under: 2012 • Iran • Israel • Mitt Romney
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. romneycares less

    Oh for GOD'S sakes, NO!

    July 28, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  2. Sorensen

    I am sure the Israelis are really going to appreciate Romney's views on Iran!!!! He should really stick to distressed
    american assets and car elevators. Then again the Israelis already know that. They will be embarassingly polite
    knowing full well that Romney knows nothing about anything significant. When they leave, his wife can say: "You
    people don't understand my brilliant husband!!".

    July 28, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. GonzoinHouston

    I seem to remember during the primaries that Romney stated with complete confidence that if he became president Iran would not get a nuclear weapon. I'll bet the Israelis remember that, too. I hope he can explain to them how he will prevent it.

    July 28, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  4. B.

    I can hear it now – On my first day in office I will strike Iran with your help..

    Romney is proving to have a dangerous mouth when the script is not already written for him to read.

    Reminds one of Dubya -

    July 28, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  5. when your nightmares end WILLARD begins

    Mitt and Ben are old friends so I doubt if he'll make any blunders here

    July 28, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  6. Larry L

    Romney would have a war going with Iran in a heartbeat. In keeping with a log-standing family tradition his boys won't serve... they'll remain behind as "job-creators"...

    July 28, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  7. Cherub

    Read the Wikipedia entries for "Iran-Contra affair", "October surprise conspiracy theory" and "Iran hostage crisis".
    Then think whether you should trust a Republican presidential candidate on anything Iran-related.

    July 28, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  8. normajean @ verizon ,com

    As my mother used to say....."I'd like to be a little mouse in the corner to hear this conversation" CAN ANYONE actually imagine Mitt Romney discussing foreign affairs with Israeli and Palestinian leaders??...I don"t know whether to laugh or cry!!! It took him no time at all to alienate the British people and they are our cousins.....this meeting has much higher stakes....this could a big mistake!!!!
    .

    July 28, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  9. Jules

    No wonder he wouldn't allow reporters at his fundraiser in Jerusalem despite his agreement with the press – he want so talk Iran so he doesn't want his war monger speech to get out to the public in America. So they blamed the England fiasco on jet lag. Really, so Romney could push THE button because he was suffering from jet lag? Stupid, stupid remark – he can't function if he has jet lag.

    July 28, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  10. Brian Dodge

    He's completely forgotten about the US intransigence on international agreements to cut fossil fuels, which has allowed the Chinese & Indians to surge ahead in CO2 emissions, and the damage being done to our economy by AGW drought and storms. The price of Wheat & corn went up 50% in the last month alone. "Arab Spring" uprisings were triggered by rising food prices; "Arab Summer" uprisings triggered by mass starvation will cause chaos in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. That will be a much bigger Foreign Policy challenge.

    Typical right wing "Oh look, here's a squirrel!" misdirection.

    July 28, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  11. CanadaONE

    Canada is on RED alert just in case the Mitt says something stupid that starts WW3

    try to keep him at home in the Cayman Islands just like his money – so he doesn't cause an international stur – HIS MOUTH IS DANGEROUS

    July 28, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  12. ourjungle

    A Lizard that changes its spots for election time,is still the same Lizard....the Israel security bill that Obama signed, won't be worth butt wipe if he is re-elected.

    July 28, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  13. Donald in CA

    I guess conservative israel will welcome romney the kisser. He will spend his time there dogging out the president. Romney is lucky because when bush was in office the conservatives wouldnt stand for anyone going to another country criticising the US president. Just ask the Dixie Chicks.

    July 28, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  14. KLMINV!

    Chen probably hates his job right now.

    July 28, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  15. KLMINV!

    Can't wait until Mittens finally starts talking giving Democrats more ammunition regarding his view of the world's economy.

    July 28, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  16. Billybob Snaketail

    An amerikan simpleton on parade. Mitt Gump the foreign policy genius? Or the foreign policy dunce.
    We report-you decide.

    July 28, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  17. GI Joe

    I'm sure he will promise to send our kids to Iran to kill them - you know – gotta send Israel millions a day and fight their wars for them. Anything for an old buddy. I t won't be Romney boys.

    July 28, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  18. Maamoo

    What a embarrassing little man.

    July 28, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  19. Jake

    Why has Romney barred all reporters from covering his fundraiser in Israel? This guy is all about secrets. Who is the real Romney? Man, this guy is as shady as shady can be.

    July 28, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  20. Amy

    So alexithymic Mitt made a total idiot out of himself, as always, and his goof-ball aide blamed it on JET LAG???

    July 28, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  21. Rajinder Kumar Goyal

    Its amazing how a nation of five million people dictates the entire foriegn policy of the US. i am not anti-Jews by any means. I fully respect them and understand their hopes and aspirations to live in peace in their homeland, free from any worries and threats from its neighbors.

    Having said that, look at how and to what extent the powerful Jewish lobby representing only 2% of the American population has the whole country terrified. The amount of money and influence poured in by billionaires like Adelson is shocking. This is not democracy of the people, by the people and for the people. Instead, its government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. Just three billionaires, Adelson and the two Koch brothers have offered to pour 500million dollars to ensure R=Money wins. GOD BLESS AMERICA! Wake up people before its too late.

    July 28, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  22. huxley

    Can't wait to see how many ways he can offend Israel if he repeats the series of gaffs he made in the UK. Romney could single handedly break up NATO if he continues this trip.

    July 28, 2012 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  23. PJ

    "The candidate did not address reporters on the five hour flight............."
    "Reporters will not be able to cover" the fundraiser.
    "..the governor is scheduled to hold a lengthy series of meetings....." and,
    "Romney will deliver a major foreign policy address...."
    So, Romney is hiding from the press. Just exactly what is he saying to his "benefactors" that cannot be heard
    by the American people, and why not a small pool of reporters?
    He is giving his "major foreign policy address" in.............Israel? Not America?
    This "presumptive" nominee is becoming way too presumptuous for me. He reminds me of Cheney and his
    many "undisclosed" locations, and that makes me very uncomfortable.
    His secrecy is un-American and dangerous. He is not the President and he needs to remember that.
    Trust him? Never in a million years.

    July 28, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  24. Publius Novus

    A "major foreign policy address" by Romney? I bet it will be very, very, very short.

    July 28, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  25. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Romney shouldn't be in Israel with Adelson because Adelson's only purpose is to attack President Obama on foreign soil while Romney stands by. But Mr. Romney needs to know, we will hold him responsible.

    July 28, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
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