Does Romney plan to visit Jerusalem soon?

Despite confirmation from Israeli source, Romney campaign throws cold water on the rumor that the candidate plans a visit.

By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER, JPOST CORRESPONDENT
May 25, 2012 00:58
2 minute read.
Romney greets supporters in New Hampshire

Romney celebrates 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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WASHINGTON – Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is planning to visit Israel in the coming weeks, according to Israeli Republican political consultant Jonny Daniels.

Daniels’s assertion came amidst days of speculation that Romney would be traveling to the Jewish state during his campaign, as candidates did during the 2008 race.

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The Romney campaign has thrown cold water on the notion that the candidate would be visiting, and campaign sources said Thursday that the former Massachusetts governor has no plans to come.

Daniels, who is the senior adviser to deputy speaker to the Knesset Danny Danon, has helped facilitate the visit of prominent Republicans including Mike Huckabee, Herman Cain and Glenn Beck. He said that the trip is expected for the latter half of June.

Jonny Daniels with Glenn Beck

“It’s definitely being planned,” said Daniels, who added that he has been in touch with members of the campaign, the Republican party and the Prime Minister’s Office about the logistics of the trip.

One government official, however, was skeptical that Romney would be visiting Israel in the midst of a campaign when he had just been in Israel last year. Campaign officials have also pointed to his recent visit as the speculation about a repeat touchdown has swirled over the last two weeks.

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Daniels said the details of what would likely be a multi-day trip are still being arranged, and there was always the potential for a scheduling snafu, but that the campaign has made clear that Romney wants to come.

“The message that it’s really going to send is that we have a friend,” said Daniels, who noted that Romney’s competitor, US President Barack Obama, has not visited Israel while in office. Both Obama and his 2008 Republican opponent John McCain made quick visits to Israel during their campaigns. “He’s willing to take time out of his schedule and stand with us,” he said.

A Washington Jewish political insider said the main purpose of a Romney visit to Israel would be “to appeal to American and the evangelical community.” He said the trip would allow Romney to try to push against Obama’s record on Israel, after having already accused the president of having thrown Israel “under the bus.”

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