Tags: Middle East | Israel | 2012 President Race | Netanyahu | Israel | Portman | Barak

Portman Meets with Netanyahu in Israel

Sunday, 03 Jun 2012 10:00 AM

Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, eyed as a potential running mate for Republican
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman
(Getty Images)
presidential nominee Mitt Romney, wrapped up a trip to Israel that featured talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Portman, according to ABC News, toured an advanced missile defense system called the Iron Dome in southern Israel and met separately with Netanyahu and Barak.

Portman’s meeting with Netanyahu reportedly lasted about an hour and centered on regional security issues, among them Iran and Syria. Portman, the former U.S. Trade Representative under President George W. Bush, is in his first senate term and serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“This past year has been very turbulent for the Middle East, and my conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu strengthened my belief that we need to remain vigilant in our support of our critical ally,” Portman said, according to ABC News.

Portman’s trip was raising eyebrows among observers. “I think it’s a big deal,’’ Peter Fenn, a Democratic consultant in Washington, told the Springfield (Ohio) News-Sun. “I think it clearly is very political. It does speak to the notion that Portman is on the very short list.’’

Israel is often a stop for politicians on the ascent. Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey visited in April. Former Republican congressman David L. Hobson of Springfield told the News-Sun that “this is a further indication that Rob Portman continues to be a rising star, and not just in the Republican Party.’’

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