PM hosts possible Romney running mate Portman

Ohio senator stresses the importance of American support for Israel following meeting with Netanyahu.

By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER,
June 1, 2012 07:06
1 minute read.
Senator Rob Portman

Senator Rob Portman 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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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.

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“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,” 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.”

In 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.

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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.

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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.

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