January 31, 2012 Leave a comment
By Lauren Appelbaum, Political Director
Washington, Jan. 31 – On the last day before the Florida primary, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney pushed his support for Israel.
“My view is American strength is essential to the world,” the former Massachusetts governor said yesterday during a morning stop in Jacksonville. “And it’s essential for us – and we should stand by our allies and our friends like Israel – and all the other nations that have been with us committing our futures together.”
Last night, speaking in The Villages, a retirement community in central Florida, Romney said “I will stand for Israel” twice, per a tweet by the Jewish Voice’s Jacob Kornbluh.
“I believe instead of becoming friendly with our enemies, we should become friendlier with our friends,” Romney said. “I want to make sure we stand by Israel and we stand by our allies of the world; we show them that we care for our friends and allies and that we do not in any way disrespect them. I will stand for Israel, I will stand for friends, and we will be stronger because America will stand for something, including our values.”
Meanwhile, in Pensacola, rival Newt Gingrich criticized Romney for vetoing funding for kosher food in nursing homes during his tenure as governor. The former Speaker also repeated his pledge to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
In 2008, Jewish voters accounted for three percent of the electorate in the GOP primary. Yet the Jewish vote in Florida can have an impact. And before the NBC News/National Journal/Tampa Bay Times Debate in Tampa last week, a group of people held pro-Israel signs, stating their desire for the candidates to focus more on Israel. Both Romney and Gingrich may have received the message.
The last polls for the Florida primary close at 8:00 PM today.