By Philip Rucker and Dan Balz
The Washington Post
Mitt Romney plans to depart next week for a visit to Britain, Israel and Poland, and the Republican presidential candidate hopes the trip will help him project the aura of a statesman and signal to voters back home that he would make a plausible commander in chief.
He will listen to leaders of important U.S. allies, make symbolic appearances at historical sites and build personal relationships. He plans to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing St. and catch up with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an old friend from their days as business consultants, while aides are preparing speeches for him to give in Israel and Poland.
Romney is not trying to replicate the dramatic scene that unfolded when then-candidate Barack Obama addressed an estimated 200,000 Germans at Berlin’s Victory Column four years ago, but his trip will inevitably draw comparisons.
Some elaborate machinations are underway to give Romney gravitas wherever possible, but he will journey across Europe and the Middle East as a private citizen, with his visits devoid of the trappings of the presidency.
“It is an elegant dance, but it is one which is performed pretty regularly,” said Tom Rath, a senior adviser to Romney. “I don’t think anybody expects him to be treated as the president; he’s not the president. . . . He’s not going to suggest strategic alliances or say he’s going to sign treaties. This is not the place. This is to demonstrate that he can lead the foreign policy of the United States.”
Romney’s campaign would like maximum attention and access, but his options as a candidate are limited. News photographers can capture many of his meetings with leaders, although in London, for example, diplomatic protocol prevents him from holding a joint news conference with Cameron.
Queen Elizabeth plans to hold an official reception at Buckingham Palace a few hours before the start of next week’s Olympic Games. But Romney won’t be there because he is not leading a national delegation and therefore was not invited, according to an official involved in the planning who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the trip.
Read More @ THE WASHINGTON POST