Obama to Sign Israel Security Bill on Eve of Romney Visit
President Barack Obama will sign a bill to strengthen U.S.-Israeli military cooperation on Friday on the eve of a visit to Israel by his Republican presidential challenger, Mitt Romney.
Obama will seek to stress his commitment to Israel’s security for American Jewish voters at a White House ceremony that appeared timed to upstage Romney, who has accused the president of undermining U.S.-Israeli ties.
Congress passed the legislation, the U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, with broad support from Obama’s Democrats and Republicans last week.
“The bill deepens our security cooperation with Israel by expanding our military assistance and providing Israel with access to additional equipment,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said on Thursday.
Obama, criticized by some of Israel’s U.S. supporters for being too tough on a close ally, wants to shore up his support among Jewish voters, who could prove critical in battleground states like Florida and Pennsylvania in the November 6 election.
Obama received 78 percent of the Jewish vote in the 2008 election, but a nationwide Gallup poll in June showed him down to 64 percent backing versus Romney’s 29 percent.