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Romney flip-flopped on zero based budgeting for aid to Israel

November 22, 2011 at

Romney and the rest of the Republican field support zeroing out foreign aid, even with our closest allies – including Israel.  But in true Romney fashion, after he supported zeroing out aid to Israel, he flip flopped and said he wanted to increase it instead. And at tonight’s debate, he said his first foreign trip as president would be to Israel to demonstrate our strong relationship.

ROMNEY CALLED FOR STARTING AID TO ISRAEL AT ZERO…

Romney Agreed With Perry That All Foreign Aid Budgeting Should Start At Zero, Including Aid For Israel. “The leading Republican candidates said Saturday night that they'd begin their foreign aid budget as zero, and declined to commit to continuing the United States' massive funding for Israel -- not to mention Egypt and other countries. ‘Every country would start at zero,’ said Perry, who introduced the crowd-pleasing proposal in response to an unrelated question, and fielded a follow-up from Twitter. ‘Obviously, Israel is a special ally, and my bet is that we would be funding them.’ ‘I agree with Governor Perry. Start everything at zero,’ Romney chimed in, in response to a question about Pakistan.” [Politico, 11/12/11]

  • Romney Agreed With Perry’s Proposal To Start All Foreign Aid – Including Israel’s – At Zero.“Speaking at the Republican presidential foreign policy debate over the weekend, Texas Governor Rick Perry said he would start all foreign aid – including Israel’s – at zero. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney agreed with Perry.” [Jerusalem Post, 11/16/11]
  • Romney’s Insistence That He Would Exempt Israel From His Zero Aid Proposal “Didn’t Do Much To Assuage Pro-Israel Concerns” As Pro-Israel Figures “Emphasized They Prefer To See Israel Wrapped Into An Overall Foreign Policy Package And Not Tweaked Apart.”“Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, signed on immediately. … Romney, who has made clear that he disagrees with Perry on much else, in this case said he welcomed the idea, saying ‘You start everything at zero.’ … In fact, immediately following the debate, Romney’s spokesmen said he would exempt Israel from the policy -- but that didn’t do much to assuage pro-Israel concerns. Pro-Israel figures for years have emphasized that they prefer to see Israel wrapped into an overall foreign policy package and not tweaked apart, as some Republicans have proposed.” [Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 11/15/11]

…THEN HIS CAMPAIGN ADVISORS IMMEDIATELY TRIED TO WALK HIS COMMENTS BACK

Romney Campaign Later Claimed That When Romney Said, “Start Everything At Zero,” He Meant Aid For Pakistan, Not Israel.“‘I agree with Governor Perry. Start everything at zero,’ Romney chimed in, in response to a question about Pakistan. [‘Governor Romney was talking about Pakistan when he said the foreign aid each year should start at zero,’ Romney spokesman Ryan Williams tells me, adding that Romney does not think aid to Israel should start at zero.]” [Politico, 11/12/11]

After The Debate, Romney Campaign Said Romney Would “Increase Military Aid” To Israel.“A spokeswoman for Mr. Romney said Sunday that his support for starting at zero applied to Pakistan, and that Mr. Romney would ‘increase military aid’ to Israel.” [Wall Street Journal, 11/13/11]

Romney Called For Increased Military Aid To Israel A Day After He Backed Starting Their Aid Package At Zero.“Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney wants to boost military help to Israel, his campaign said Sunday, a day after he seemed to back starting the ally's aid package at zero. ‘Mitt Romney firmly believes that the United States must continue supporting Israel and increase military aid to our strongest friend and ally,’ spokeswoman Andrea Saul told AFP by email.” [AFP, 11/13/11]

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