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Mitt Romney's foreign policy tour: Can he repeat Obama's '08 success?
The GOP presidential candidate is reportedly planning an overseas trip to broaden his appeal. Will he pass the commander-in-chief test?
 
Mitt Romney arrives in Idaho on March 1, 2012: After campaigning all across the country, the GOP nominee is reportedly going to venture overseas to prove his foreign policy chops.
Mitt Romney arrives in Idaho on March 1, 2012: After campaigning all across the country, the GOP nominee is reportedly going to venture overseas to prove his foreign policy chops.
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Mitt Romney is considering taking off on a five-country trip overseas in late July, as part of a major foreign policy offensive, according to Politico. The move would be a striking departure for the GOP presidential candidate, who for weeks has focused almost exclusively on attacking President Obama's handling of the economy. The trip, which reportedly might include stops in Great Britain, Germany, Poland, and Israel, would mirror a tour Barack Obama took in the summer of 2008 when he needed to overcome a lack of foreign experience and show that he would make an able commander-in-chief. The move paid off for Obama. Will it work for Romney?

Romney can definitely benefit from an overseas tour: Voters are fixated on unemployment and the stalled recovery, so it's unlikely that Romney will hit a home run with this trip, says Teresa Walsh at U.S. News & World Report. However, the former Massachusetts governor "has little foreign policy experience," and he needs to prove he can hold his own on the world stage. "An international trip could be a chance to paint himself as a more well-rounded candidate" who can talk about more than just jobs, jobs, jobs — even if that is what voters care about most.
"Is a foreign policy tour a smart move for Mitt Romney?"

Mitt can't afford not to go: Romney has been hit recently with a "stream of articles questioning his foreign policy heft," says Ron Kampeas at JTA. He has to push back. Given Obama's history of tensions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an Israel trip is a great way to prove that Romney would be a better friend to this key ally, and help Romney shore up support with foreign policy hawks and Israel-friendly evangelicals, "two constituencies whose wariness have dogged his campaign."
"Visit to Israel gives Romney chance to shore up foreign policy, evangelical cred"

If Romney is smart, he'll stay home: Romney's "monomaniacal focus on the economy" makes it easy to forget that he has attacked Obama's foreign policy — from Israel to Iran to China — for years, says Jamelle Bouie at The Washington Post. The trouble is, "Obama isn't Jimmy Carter," and Romney can't touch the Democratic president on national security. Going abroad is a needless distraction. Romney would be "better off continuing to hammer Obama on the economy, which is where the president is actually weak."
"A foreign policy tour for Romney? Really?"

Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

 

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