Mitt Romney solidified
his front-runner status in the all-important Super Tuesday contests this
week, narrowly eking out a crucial win in Ohio, as well as Alaska, Idaho,
Vermont, his home state of Massachusetts, and Virginia -- where Ron Paul was the only other candidate
on the ballot. Rick Santorum took
North Dakota, Idaho, and Tennessee, while Newt
Gingrich won his home state of Georgia. Despite a near-tie in Ohio, Romney
will take nearly all of the state's delegates because of the Santorum
to meet the state's eligibility requirements months ago. Despite the lack
of a clear referendum backing Romney, there now appears to be little
chance of any other candidate closing the delegate gap.
The GOP candidates took the opportunity at this week's meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs
Committee to again attack President Barack
Obama's stance on Israel. "The current administration has distanced itself
from Israel and visibly warmed to the Palestinian cause. It has emboldened the
Palestinians.... As president, I will treat our allies and friends like friends
"As I've sat and watched this play out on the world stage, I have seen a
president who has been reticent," said
Santorum. "He says he has Israel's back; from everything I've seen from the
conduct of this administration, he has turned his back on the people of
Santorum was referring to Obama's earlier speech to AIPAC on Sunday, during which he
said, "There should not be a shred of doubt by now: when the chips are
down, I have Israel's back." Speaking shortly before a White House meeting with
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu, Obama said, "When it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a
nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I
Gingrich, for his part, seemed a bit unprepared for his
speech. Video released by ABC News showed him nodding off slightly before he
was due to deliver
his remarks by satellite. He also seemed to be under the impression he was
participating in a panel discussion rather than giving a speech.
As usual, Iran was the major foreign-policy topic of
discussion on the campaign trail this week. In a Washington Post op-ed published on
Monday, Romney compared Obama's handling of the Islamic Republic's nuclear
program to Jimmy Carter's failure to
secure the release of U.S. hostages in 1979. Romney pledged to "take every
measure necessary to check the evil regime of the ayatollahs. Until Iran ceases
its nuclear-bomb program, I will press for ever-tightening sanctions, acting
with other countries if we can but alone if we must. I will speak out on behalf
of the cause of democracy in Iran and support Iranian dissidents who are
fighting for their freedom."
At a White House press conference the following day, Obama rebuked
his critics in the GOP field and in Congress for their hawkish rhetoric on
Iran. "This is not a game," he added. "And there's nothing casual about
it.... If some of these folks think that
it's time to launch a war, they should say so, and they should explain to the
American people exactly why they would do that and what the consequences would
A Sarkozy endorsement?
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, currently locked in his own tough election
to endorse Obama's reelection effort during a speech on Mideast policy this
week. "President Obama, who is a very great president, won't take the
initiative [on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations] before he's re-elected -- and
I hope he will be -- but there's a place for France and a place for
Europe," Sarkozy said.
World leaders generally refrain from publicly taking sides in other
countries' elections, though the practice has recently become
more common in Europe.
What to watch for:
ahead could be a tough one for the Romney campaign with contests in Kansas
on Saturday, and Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday, all of which are friendly
territory for Santorum. While victories for the former Pennsylvania senator
wouldn't change the delegate math much, they would add to concerns about
Romney's ability to rally southern and socially conservative voters.
Leaving nothing to chance, Romney has even dispatched
his son Matt to visit the Pacific territories of Guam and Northern Mariana,
which also hold primaries this weekend.
Obama hosts British Prime Minister David
Cameron at the White House for talks
on Afghanistan and some March
The latest from FP:
Ruy Teixeira says the real
winner of Super Tuesday was Obama.
Uri Friedman finds six
international newspaper columnists who actually like Romney.
Michael Cohen argues
that the GOP candidates are mischaracterizing Ronald Reagan's foreign policy.
Tom Ricks thinks Romney has effectively
endorsed Obama's Iran policy.
Josh Rogin reports on Sen. John Kerry's response
to Romney's Iran op-ed.
Joshua Keating looks at
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