something Barack Obama has yet to do as president, Romney will try to present himself to voters back home as a credible replacement to Obama on the world stage. Romney’s visit presents him the opportunity to appeal to both Jewish voters and pro-Israel evangelical voters and contrast himself with the Democratic incumbent Obama, who has a rocky relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The aim is also to give the former Massachusetts governor some foreign policy credentials and let Americans get a glimpse of him in action overseas as they decide whether to vote for him in the November 6 general election to replace Obama.
Aides say the trip is a “listen and learn” tour with no policy pronouncements. It is a lower key version of Obama’s own 2008 trip abroad in which he spoke to a huge throng in Berlin in the heat of that presidential campaign and declared, “The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand.”
Romney’s visit to the Olympics will allow him to wave the American flag and play up a central piece of his resume – his work to salvage the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
In London he will meet Prime Minister David Cameron and other officials as well as former Prime Minister Tony Blair to stress the importance of traditional U.S.-British ties. He will also raise some campaign cash from Americans living in Britain.
In Warsaw and Gdansk, Romney will hold talks with Polish officials and former Solidarity leader Lech Walesa and voice support for an ally that has stood as a key bulwark in eastern Europe, a region long dominated by Russia.
“The trip is to demonstrate a clear and resolute stand with nations that share our values,” said Romney policy adviser Lanhee Chen.
Israel is the most delicate diplomatic stop for Romney, with Syria in turmoil after a bomb attack in Damascus killed the defense minister, and Israeli tensions with Iran rising after a bus bomb in Bulgaria killed six Israeli tourists and prompted Israel to blame Tehran.
Obama angered the Israelis a year ago when he embraced a goal long sought by the Palestinians, that the state they seek in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip should largely be drawn along lines that existed before the 1967 war in which Israel captured those territories, including East Jerusalem.
“The focus of the trip really is about learning, listening … and it’s about continuing to project Governor Romney’s strong view that America needs to stand by its allies, particularly allies that are under siege, like Israel,” said Romney foreign policy adviser Dan Senor.
It has not gone unnoticed there that the Democratic president has not visited Israel
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