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Romney's Israel speech: Iran will be 'highest national security priority'

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In another dig at Obama – who has been bragging about stepped-up military cooperation with Israel – Romney blamed the president for allowing public disputes to emerge: "Standing by Israel does not mean with military and intelligence cooperation alone," he said. "We cannot stand silent as those who seek to undermine Israel voice their criticisms. And we certainly should not join in that criticism. Diplomatic distance in public between our nations emboldens Israel's adversaries.''

Romney’s portrayal of Iran seemed to echo Netanyahu's apocalyptic comparisons of Iran and Nazi Germany. The Republican nominee said Iran's leaders are "testing our moral defenses" and added "we have seen the horrors of history. We will not stand by. We will not watch them play out again."

His warning that "when the world’s most despotic regimes secure the world’s most dangerous weapons" will lead to war also seemed to echo remarks made by Netanyahu just last week about the need to stop Iran.

Second billing in Romney’s speech was given to the tumult in Syria and the political transition in Egypt. He gave no policy direction on Syria, and urged Egypt to uphold its peace treaty with Israel, as the administration has done.

Absent from the speech was any mention of the peace process with the Palestinians, which has been mothballed for years and shows no signs of resuming. Just two weeks ago, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton repeated Obama, saying that "the status quo is unacceptable."

Romney's broader critique

This is the second presidential election in which the Jewish state has become a campaign stop. In 2008, both Obama and Sen. John McCain took breaks from campaigning in the US to visit here.

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