The Chase 2012

Gingrich, Romney, Santorum address AIPAC on Super Tuesday

Three Republican presidential candidates — former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum — addressed The American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Super Tuesday and strongly denounced President Barack Obama’s Middle East policies.

Gingrich, as he has repeatedly said on the campaign trail, said he would move the American embassy to Jerusalem and added that no advance notice was needed to support the right of Israel to survive in a dangerous world.

“We need a fundamental reassessment about our understanding of the threat of radical Islam,” Gingrich said. “The teaching of hatred, the recruiting of martyrs, the anticipation children will grow up to be killers are not patterns compatible with a peace process and we will not tolerate engaging in a process with people engaging in those behaviors.”

Gingrich said the Obama administration is failing intellectually by not defining the threat that is radical Islam and said he will “not keep talking while Iranians are building” nuclear weapons and that the “red line is not the morning the bomb goes off, … the red line is now.”

Gingrich spoke of his joy at seeing “the culture flourishing in freedom” even with neighbors who wish them well, in describing his visits to Israel, noting that “the courage is still there.”

“For the United States to turn its back on the only true functioning democracy in the Middle East … would be such a repudiation of everything we believe in, every part of our romantic statement that we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights,” Gingrich said. “We could no longer be Americans if we stand by and allow a tragedy on that scale.”

Santorum said Iran needed to stop its nuclear weapons production now and open up their facilities to inspectors from the United States and the international community.

Santorum said he had Israel’s back and that, “From everything I’ve seen, … [President Obama] has turned his back on the people of Israel.”

“Let’s be honest about who these radical Islamists are,” Santorum said. “What leads you to believe that these folks are rational actors?”

Santorum said “rational actors” do not call for the destruction of other states or send hundreds of thousands of children as minesweepers, in reference to Iran’s past actions.

Romney also ripped into Obama’s timid Middle East foreign policy.

“Hope is not a foreign policy,” Romney said. “The only thing respected by thugs and tyrants is our resolve, backed by our power and our readiness to use it. Of course, the administration’s naïve outreach to Iran gave the ayatollahs exactly what they wanted most.”

Romney said that, unlike what Obama thinks, America does not have “common interest with a terrorist regime” because “their interest is in the destruction of Israel and the domination of the Middle East” and “it is profoundly irrational to suggest that the ayatollahs think the way we do or share our values” because “they do not.”

“I will bring the current policy of procrastination toward Iran to an end,” Romney said. “I will not delay in imposing further crippling sanctions, and I will not hesitate to fully implement the ones we currently have.”

Romney added that he would be ready to engage in diplomacy but “will be just as ready to engage our military might” and “Israel will know that America stands at its side, in all conditions and in all consequences.”

In a question and answer session, Romney spoke about his visits to Israel and how remarkable it was that people were still immigrating to Israel. He also cited the book, Start-up Nation, by Dan Senor, one of his foreign policy advisers, that details Israel’s entrepreneurial spirit and how successfully Israelis integrate those who have military experience in its business endeavors.

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