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O’s big Mittzvah / Steals GOP-visit thunder with Israel pact (NEW YORK POST) By S.A. MILLER WASHINGTON 07/28/12)Source: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/big_mittzvah_UXlk2FVGBI9VOYgFqNl2kM NEW YORK POST NEW YORK POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
WASHINGTON — President Obama yesterday upstaged Mitt Romney’s visit to Israel by signing a bill that bolsters US military ties with the Jewish state.

Jockeying for Jewish votes in the United States, Obama signed the bill at a formal White House ceremony on the eve of his Republican challenger’s visit to Israel. Obama also announced the United States would soon send $70 million to Israel for its “Iron Dome” missile shield.

It was the latest wrinkle in Romney’s tour abroad, which got off to a rocky start with the Republican’s Olympic gaffes in London.

Romney has bashed Obama — who visited Israel as a candidate in 2008 but who has not returned as president — for ignoring the historic close ties between the US and Israel.

The strained relationship between Obama and Israel was expected to provide the backdrop for Romney’s meeting today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

But Obama instead pledged his “unshakable commitment” to Israel’s security as he signed the bill that Congress passed a week ago.

“I have made it a top priority for my administration to deepen cooperation with Israel across a whole spectrum of security issues,” declared Obama.

The Romney campaign applauded the enhanced security for Israel but noted that the measure “does nothing” about Obama’s reluctance to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The status of Jerusalem is a point of contention.

Obama has angered Israel and Jewish voters at home by pushing for a Middle East peace deal centered on Israel’s 1967 prewar borders, before it captured the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, the Romney campaign seized upon new data showing weak economic growth as the latest evidence that Obama’s domestic policies aren’t working.

Economic estimates showed the US gross domestic product (the value of all goods and services produced in the country) slowed to an annual rate of 1.5 percent in the second quarter of 2012. That fueled fears of a stalling economy, as Americans tightened their belts and reined in spending.

“It’s a picture of a decelerating economy,” Romney economic adviser Dean Glenn Hubbard said. “At that pattern, the economy simply will never return to full employment.”

The White House budget office delivered more bad news for Obama, reporting this year’s deficit will be less than previous estimates but that economic growth remained anemic.

The Republican National Committee responded with a blast e-mail with the subject line: “The Big Fail: Mid-Summer Downer.” It slammed Obama for breaking his promise to cut the deficit in half. (Copyright 2011 NYP Holdings, Inc. 07/28/12)


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