Mitt Romney’s campaign hopes his trip abroad next week gives him the opportunity to show he is a statesman and gives voters a clearer sense of his worldview by drawing a contrast with President Barack Obama’s foreign policies, the Washington Post
The Republican presidential hopeful is scheduled to visit key U.S. allies Britain, Israel, and Poland next week, meet with leaders and make appearances at historical sites, according to the Post.
He also plans to attend opening ceremonies of the Olympics in London as a guest of the International Olympic Committee. First lady Michelle Obama also will attend, leading the official U.S. delegation.
Advisers hope the Olympic visit will help spotlight Romney’s role in turning around the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, according to the Post.
“What is undersold, or not appreciated enough, is how bad a shape the Olympics were in when he took them over,” an adviser told the Post. “It looks easy in retrospect. When you talk to him, it’s one of the toughest things he did. Second, certainly going to Israel is an expression of your priorities in foreign policy. Governor Romney strongly believes in Israel, and in Israel as an ally, and the strongest threat is Iran getting a nuclear bomb.”
Romney’s team is taking pains to ensure their candidate appears presidential — but Romney will travel as a private citizen.
“It is an elegant dance, but it is one which is performed pretty regularly,” Tom Rath, a senior adviser to Romney, told the Post. “I don’t think anybody expects him to be treated as the president; he’s not the president. . . . He’s not going to suggest strategic alliances or say he’s going to sign treaties. This is not the place. This is to demonstrate that he can lead the foreign policy of the United States.”
Advisers told the Post that Romney will focus on his worldview and the United States’ shared values with allies, but will not directly criticize Obama on foreign soil.
“He will not be ragging on President Obama while he’s overseas,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, and a member of Romney’s foreign policy advisory team, told the Post.
His visit to Israel, where he will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will help highlight Obama’s absence from the country during his presidency.
“Governor Romney is there to show in a very visual way” that he supports Israel, Ros-Lehtinen told the Post. “President Obama made a big deal when he went to Egypt [in 2009] and gave that famous speech, yet he couldn’t go down the block and say hello to leaders of the strongest democracy in the Middle East who are besieged by very hostile neighbors.”
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