Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney hoped to overcome voter perceptions that he lacks the substance and experience to handle US foreign policy as he headed overseas on Wednesday for visits to key US allies Britain, Israel and Poland.
He left behind a sweeping indictment of President Barack Obama’s foreign and military policy, including charges that the White House sought political gain by leaking classified details of the military raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
The close presidential race has taken a sharp detour from its focus on the struggling US economy that has stubbornly high 8.2% unemployment more than three years after Obama took office.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll published Tuesday showed Romney leading Obama 43% to 36% on which candidate is seen as better equipped to improve the economy.
The same poll showed Obama is viewed as a better commander in chief, 45% to 35%. Last week, a CBS News/New York Times poll found 47% of voters said Obama would do a better job handling foreign policy, while 40% chose Romney.
Romney hopes to overcome that gap by venturing overseas.
While in London, where he will attend the opening of Olympic Games on Friday, Romney plans to meet with British PM David Cameron. He also plans to meet with PM Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel.