WASHINGTON – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney might have pledged
not to criticize US foreign policy while on a trip to Europe and Israel that
began Thursday, but the Obama campaign did not hold its fire.
team held a conference call with national security figures Thursday challenging
Romney’s positions and international approach.
“He doesn’t bring any real
national security experience for the issues at hand. He doesn’t have foreign
policy experience,” charged Gen.
Wesley Clark, former supreme allied
commander of NATO, who sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004.
“We think the American people deserve to hear an alternative view if there is a
challenge. Not just baseless bromides and tired, hackneyed phrases from the Cold
In another move perceived in some quarters as an attempt to
undercut Romney’s efforts to reach out to Israel and Jewish voters on his trip,
US President Barack Obama will hold a signing ceremony for a bill enhancing
US-Israel security cooperation on Friday.
The bill, which had wide swaths
of bipartisan support and was strongly lobbied by the American Israel Public
Affairs Committee, will enhance intelligence cooperation, American commitment to
Israel’s qualitative military edge and other aspects of the bilateral
Romney began his trip in Britain, where he will attend the
Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games.
He is scheduled to arrive
in Israel on Sunday.
His campaign wants to highlight his successful
stewardship of the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002, which he put back on track
after severe mismanagement.
But his attendance at the Olympics was not
without potential political pitfalls. Many American Jewish organizations have
been lobbying for a moment of silence to be observed during the Opening
Ceremonies in observance of the Israeli athletes slain in Munich 40 years ago, a
request turned down by the International Olympic Committee.
the White House weighed in to say it supported the minute of silence, and Romney
originally stayed mum on the issue before eventually endorsing the remembrance
Though the IOC has not changed its position, a number of other
groups have decided to hold their own moments of silence, including the US
Congress, which commemorated the massacre on Thursday morning.
written repeatedly to the IOC to urge them to reconsider and re-reconsider their
position regarding the moment of silence, and the response we received repeated
the same meaningless excuses the IOC has clung to year after year,” Rep. Ileana
Ros- Lehtinen (R-Florida), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said at
“We know why the IOC has refused: Because the murdered
Olympians were Israelis, and the IOC does not want to draw the ire of foreign
governments who still object to the very existence of a Jewish state in the
homeland of the Jewish people.”