Total Pageviews

Friday, July 27, 2012

An Ocean Away, but Still Shadowed by His Competition


Mitt Romney is traveling overseas on his big foreign trip. And President Obama is with him every step of the way.

With Mr. Romney flitting from Britain to Israel to Poland in the coming days, the Obama camp has made sure to showcase the president doing, well, presidential things related to all three countries.

Mr. Obama said on Friday that he was releasing an additional $70 million in military aid for Israel, to help the country expand production of a short-range rocket defense system. The president also signed a bill in the Oval Office expanding military and civilian cooperation with Israel.

The bill underscores America's “unshakable commitment to Israel,” Mr. Obama said.

Coincidence? Of course not, the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, said.

“I wish it were the case that we could direct Congress and have it do what we wanted on our schedule all the time,† Mr. Carney told dubious reporters at a White House briefing. “The bill the president signed today was passed by Congress, bipartisan majorities, and sent to the White House, I believe, a week ago. And the president has been on the road, and today was the day to sign it.”

O.K., but what about the announcement on Thursday that Mr. Obama felt the “utmost confidence” in Britain's preparedness for the Olympics - an announcement that came just a few hours after Mr. Romney's gaffe in London in which he said there had been “disconcerting” signs of unpreparedness?

Or Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta's trip to Israel on Sunday? Or the Obama campaign's decision to broadcast an advertisement on Friday night during the opening ceremony of the Olympics, which will be attended by Mr. Romney? Or the announcement that John O. Brennan, a senior adviser, briefed Mr. Obama on security at the Olympics?

So skeptical!

“Whatever country the Olympics were in, this president would have been briefed on security,” Mr. Carney said. “This is a major event, international event, with thousands of Americans present, hundreds of American athletes present, and it's the kind of thing that he would, as a matter of routine preparation, be briefed on, just as he is the Super Bowl and other issues and other major events where there is an American security interest.”