They will have had a glum breakfast. Last night's campaign fund-raising dinner, where each guest had to pay $25,000 (£16,000) a head, might have choked them. Their security physically stopped the cameras getting shots of anti-Mormon protesters, but nothing could block the barrage of negative coverage.
In April, a Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that voters trust the president to do a better job handling foreign affairs than Romney, by 56 percent to 37 percent. One way to measure whether this trip is a success is to see if that gap shrinks after Romney returns home.
"Israel is popular in the United States, has a strong standing not just among American Jews but, more importantly in electoral terms, with evangelical Christians and others," Danin says.
In addition, Americans living abroad counted for almost 700,000 ballots in 2008.
“We stand with the Israeli people. We link arms with them,” Romney said during an ABC Republican primary debate last year in which he said he would lean on Netanyahu for guidance on a host of issues, from the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to the tensions with Iran. “If we disagree with them, like this president has time and time again, we don't do it in public like he's done it, we do it in private.”
In a campaign dominated by the economy, the international trip offers Romney a rare chance to show voters that he would be a capable leader on the world stage. Not only will he have the chance to brush up his foreign policy credentials — a weak spot in his résumé — but his presence at the opening ceremonies of the Olympics on Friday will allow his campaign to spotlight his experience turning around the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games at a time when the organization faced scandal and financial crisis.
When Barack Obama traveled overseas as a candidate in 2008, it was an all-hands-on-deck event, with senior advisers David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs and a full battery of foreign-policy bigwigs — including Dennis Ross, Susan Rice, James Steinberg and Richard Danzig — at his side
"He is really abroad to learn and to listen. There will be other opportunities for the governor to articulate additional policy prescriptions and foreign policy."
In June Mr Romney told an evangelical Christian group that his approach to Israel would be “by and large the opposite” of Mr Obama’s. On the eve of the candidate’s trip, leading Romney supporters declared it a disgrace that Mr Obama had not been to Israel in his almost four years as president.
“I think he had overall an excellent trip,” said McCain, who was visiting New Hampshire to oppose upcoming defense budget cuts. McCain laughed off a British tabloid dubbing Romney “Mitt the Twit,” following the presidential candidate’s comment about the London Olympics being “disconcerting.”
He visited countries that are staunch U.S. allies, limited questions from the media and arranged made-for-TV appearances at symbolic venues in London and Jerusalem. It was all intended to demonstrate he was ready to handle foreign affairs smoothly and lead during dangerous times.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney angered Palestinian leaders on Monday when he suggested here that the Israeli economy has outpaced that of the Palestinian territories in part because of advantages of “culture.”
Palestinians said that Romney was ignoring long-running Israeli restrictions on crossings from the Gaza Strip and West Bank, which are an enormous drag on commerce.
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