A US senator whose name has appeared on speculative lists of possible running
mates for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney met with Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Thursday.
Sen. Rob Portman
(R-Ohio), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and former US trade
representative and director of the Office of Management and Budget, stressed the
importance of American support for Israel following the meeting.
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,” he said. “As the crisis in Syria grows and
the humanitarian tragedy becomes more clear, I appreciated Prime Minister
Netanyahu’s perspective on the changes and volatility in the region.”
addition to touching on Iran, the Palestinians and other regional matters, the
two men also discussed economic issues.
Though Portman’s name has
frequently appeared in reports speculating on whom Mitt Romney will tap to run
with him for vice president, the Israeli officials said that American politics
was not raised.
They noted that Netanyahu makes an effort to see every US
senator, member of congress and governor who visits the country, and that this
meeting would have taken place regardless of whether Portman was in the vice
presidential sweepstakes or not.
There is no real expectation in
Jerusalem that Romney, who was here last year, would be coming again before the
elections, and discussion about an Obama visit sometime before November –
rampant just a few months ago – has now mostly waned.
This is not the
first time Netanyahu has met Portman.