Obama gets ahead of Romney on Israel

Associated Press
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton listens at left as President Barack Obama speaks to members of the media during a Cabinet Meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, July, 26, 2012.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is reaffirming U.S. ties with Israel, upstaging Mitt Romney one day before the Republican challenger visits Jerusalem.

The White House says Obama will sign legislation Friday that expands military and civilian cooperation with Israel. The bill passed by voice vote in the House last week. The bill reiterates U.S. support for a negotiated two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Romney is a critic of Obama's policy toward Israel. He will arrive in Jerusalem on Saturday as part of an overseas trip that includes Britain and Poland.

The White House subtly injected itself into Romney's trip on Thursday after Romney caused a stir by calling London's problems with Olympics preparation "disconcerting." White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama "has the utmost confidence" in Britain's ability to host the games.

Obama planned to continue competing with Romney for attention during the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games, which Romney was scheduled to attend while in London.

The Obama campaign was airing an ad for American audiences during the opening ceremonies featuring Obama promoting his middle-class political pitch.

"I believe that the way you grow the economy is from the middle out," Obama says in the ad, echoing a standard campaign refrain. "I believe in fighting for the middle class because if they are prospering, all of us will prosper."

With the ad, Obama guarantees himself a presence during opening ceremonies despite the free media Romney might get by being there in person.

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