GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney has been trying (unsuccessfully) to capitalize on President Obama’s open-mic comment in which he told Russian President Dimitry Medvedev that he’d be more “flexible” on missile defense issues after the election. Romney charged that the incident questions Obama’s “commitment to Israel.”
Yesterday on CBS’s Face the Nation, Vice President Biden shot back at Romney, calling him “uninformed”:
BIDEN: But what I think is most revealing about it is the Governor’s response. The Governor talking about this hurts Israel. He either hasn’t been informed yet or doesn’t know that this missile defense system we put in, and I was responsible as you remember for going to Europe and selling the new system which better protects them, also better protects Israel and in terms of the early warning capability. I mean, he just seems to be uninformed, or stuck in a Cold War mentality. So, I think what the — the exchange did, it exposes how little the Governor knows about foreign policy.
Watch the clip:
Indeed, Romney is uninformed. Since President Obama took office in 2009, the United States security commitment to Israel increased significantly and is unprecedented. Top Israeli officials regularly make this point. In fact, similar baseless GOP claims on Obama and Israel led the Associated Press to get involved. An AP “fact check” notes that Republican attacks on Obama that he’s not sufficiently pro-Israel “have strayed well beyond reality.”
Just last week, the Pentagon asked Congress for more money for Israel’s Iron Dome system which is designed to intercept short-range rockets and mortars. In recent weeks, the system was credited for intercepting more than 80 percent of the nearly 300 rockets fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza into southern Israel. “Supporting the security of the state of Israel is a top priority of President Obama and Secretary Panetta,” DOD spokesman George Little said in a statement.
Later on Face the Nation yesterday, Newt Gingrich also had trouble sticking to reality on Obama and Israel. Gingrich claimed that in a previous “hot-mic” incident with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Obama made a “derogatory reference to Israel.” “It was Sarkozy complaining about Prime Mister Netanyahu of Israel, and Obama actually sort of trumping him and saying it’s even worse I have to deal with him every day.” In fact, as Media Matters pointed out, Obama was actually advocating for Israel’s position at the time, requesting that Sarkozy ask the Palestinians to slow their push for U.N. membership.