Mitt Romney is making the case against Newt Gingrich, but subtly here. Republican voters have been barraged with so much evidence of President Obama’s failures – his plummeting approval ratings, his failure to boost the economy – that it’s easy to believe any GOP candidate can defeat him. Some see this as the reason for Gingrich’s rise. During Romney’s speech at the Republican Jewish Coalition forum today, he urges caution:
“Many think because of his staggering failures, Obama will be easily defeated,” said Romney, adding that this wasn’t necessarily true. “[H]e will resort to anything. As you know, class warfare and demagoguery are powerful weapons.”
“It will be a choice between entitlement and merit; between appeasement and resolve,” Romney continued. “Our nominee must offer Americans more than just a choice to vote against President Obama.”
The choice that Romney outlines for Jewish Republicans? He pits his support for Israel versus Obama’s support for Palestinian hardliners:
“[Obama’s] actions have emboldened Palestinian hardliners, and they’re now poised to form a unity government with the terrorist group Hamas. President Obama has immeasurably set back the prospect of peace in the Middle East….
I would not meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He should be excluded from diplomatic society. In fact he should be indicted for the crime of incitement of genocide…On my watch Iran’s ayatollahs will not be permitted to obtain nuclear weapons. A nuclear armed Iran is not only a threat of Israel, it’s a threat to the entire world.”
Romney, who spoke after Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum, got by far the most supportive reception from the RJC crowd. With two standing ovations at the beginning and end of his speech, it looks like the RJC may have settled on its candidate. After Newt Gingrich’s speech later this afternoon, we should have a better idea of who the coalition is leaning toward.