U.S. Republican presidential candidate Romney addresses the 113th VFW National Convention in Reno, before setting on a traveling outside the US. (Photo : Reuters)
Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney has set off on a seven-day overseas trip, with the first stop being the London 2012 Summer Olympics.
Romney's attendance at the Olympics' opening ceremony is a moment to watch, as the event will gather world leaders into one stadium and reporters from across the globe. Romney is not an unfamiliar face to the Olympic community as an organizer of the Salt Lake City Winter Games in 2002.
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Romney is also set to travel to Israel and Poland.
The trip is an opportunity to demonstrate Romney's foreign policy skills. It is not strange for a presidential candidate to travel overseas during an election season, as then Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama traveled to France and made a speech in Berlin, Germany to 200,000 people in 2008.
Romney's overseas trip is not taken lightly by the Obama campaign which has labeled the trip as "political." The Obama campaign said their 2008 overseas trip was "substantive."
"[Romney] is really abroad to learn and to listen," said Romney's Campaign Policy Director Lanhee Chen. "There will be other opportunities for the governor to articulate additional policy prescriptions and foreign policy."
While in London, Romney is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister David Cameron, Chancellor of Exchequer George Osborne, Foreign Secretary William, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Romney will meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, President Shimon Peres, and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, and is scheduled to make a speech in the country.
Israel is one of the foreign policy topics where Romney is aiming to distinguish from Obama, as the current president has had turbulent relations with Netanyahu in recent years, as evident by a statement by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.
"U.S.-Israeli relations have been strained by the failure of the Obama administration to stress unequivocal support for our long-standing ally," said McDonnell. "Thus, it's no surprise that President Obama is struggling to shore up support in the Jewish community."
Romney has previously worked with Netanyahu in the late 1970s at the Boston Consulting Group.
For the trip to Poland, he will meet President Bronislaw Komorowski, Prime Minister Donald Tusk, and former president Lech Walesa, and conclude with another speech.