Obama signs Israel aid bill to undercut Romney visit | world | Hindustan Times
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Obama signs Israel aid bill to undercut Romney visit

US President Barack Obama on Friday signed a bill giving $70 million defence aid to Israel just a day before Mitt Romney heads out for that country on the second leg of his foreign tour.

world Updated: Jul 29, 2012 02:01 IST
Yashwant Raj

US President Barack Obama on Friday signed a bill giving $70 million defence aid to Israel just a day before Mitt Romney heads out for that country on the second leg of his foreign tour.


"In many ways, what this legislation does is bring together all of the outstanding cooperation that we have seen really at an unprecedented level between our two countries," Obama said.

But not long after, the Obama campaign was being accused of trying to pre-empt the president's challenger, who embarked Wednesday on a three-nation tour to establish his credentials.

It's been a dismal tour so far. Romney walked straight into a storm — of his own making — over his remarks doubting London's preparedness for hosting the games.

"Mitt the Twit," screamed one London tabloid.

Republicans back home — including Romney's supporters — were stunned by their candidate's comment. It's a setback, an aide explained but nothing the candidate couldn't ride.

Romney spent the rest of his visit walking back the comment. An unconvinced British press kept up its attack, denying the candidate the desired bump.

Romney might have wanted to put London behind him and use the Israel visit to claw his way into the Jewish community, which remains largely Democratic. But Obama had different ideas.

The signing of the bill was seen as political. Press secretary Jay Carney said: "The bill the President signed that reaffirms the US' unshakeable commitment to Israel's security was passed by Congress this month and was sent to the President a week ago."