Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is expected to reveal some of his foreign policy plans ahead of his trip abroad in a speech this afternoon at the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention (Politico).
An adviser previewed key points of the speech for Politico, saying Romney will criticize the president’s diplomacy efforts and plans to cut the size and budget of the military. “President Obama promised to lead on foreign policy, but by his own measure and the goals he set to accomplish, he has failed,” Romney is expected to say, according to Politico. “One time after another, President Obama has set out to appease our adversaries, only to see them take advantage of his perceived weakness. From Iran to China to our relationship with Russia, we’ve seen one foreign policy setback after another.”
In his own speech at the VFW convention Monday, President Obama appealed to veterans based on his track record (LasVegasSun), saying he has protected veterans’ benefits, strengthened America’s reputation as a world leader, and kept his promises to end two wars.
“Four years ago, I made you a promise. I pledged to take the fight to our enemies, and renew our leadership in the world. As President, that’s what I’ve done,” President Obama said. “And as you reflect on recent years, as we look ahead to the challenges we face as a nation and the leadership that’s required, you don’t just have my words, you have my deeds.”
President Obama also introduced his plan to overhaul the program that helps members of the military transition to civilian life (WSJ) and emphasized his efforts to help veterans find jobs.
President Obama is likely to visit Israel in his second term if reelected (NYT), his campaign said in a call with reporters Monday.
“We can expect him to visit Israel in a second term, if he is elected,” said Colin Kahl, President Obama’s former deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East.
Though he visited as a candidate, the president has not traveled to Israel since taking office, a fact often brought up in discussions about the tense relationship between President Obama and Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu. Kahl said that the relationship between the two countries “shouldn’t be judged by a travel itinerary,” and noted that President George W. Bush did not visit Israel until late in his second term and President Ronald Reagan did not visit Israel at all while in office.
Romney is still struggling to win over Latino voters due in part to his vague stance on Arizona’s controversial immigration law, according to a new poll by Latino Decisions (HuffPost). Of those polled, 57 percent of Latino voters said they were less enthusiastic about Romney based on what he has said about the law.
On immigration in general, 63 percent of Latino voters polled said they trust President Obama to handle long-term immigration reform, while 19 percent said the same of Romney. “Though the issue isn’t the top-ranked priority for Latino voters, the poll released Monday showed that it can influence enthusiasm, important to both candidates as they try to draw Hispanics to the polls in November,” writes the Huffington Post‘s Elise Foley.
— Gayle S. Putrich, Contributing Editor