Mitt Romney rapped President Obama hard on Wednesday before a group of Jewish Republicans on the issue of the U.S. relationship with Israel.
Romney, who's been sharply critical throughout the primary campaign of Obama's handling of Israel, fired up attendees of the Republican Jewish Coalition at the group's conference this morning in D.C.
"I don’t think he understands America," Romney said, and promised, as he did in the most recent debate: "I will travel to Israel on my first foreign trip. I will reaffirm as a vital national interest Israel’s existence as a Jewish state."
"In three years in office, he hasn’t found the time or interest to visit Israel, our ally, our friend.” he said of the president.
And in a 30-second, ad-ready soundbite, Romney (the onetime Senate, successful gubernatorial, and twice-presidential candidate) said, "I don't have a political career."
"I am not a creature of Washington, I am a creature of the private sector," he said. "I’m a business guy. I am not in this because I want the next step on my political career. I don’t have a political career – I am in this because I care about America."
Romney followed former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who also spoke this morning at the conference.
Huntsman opened with a shoutout for New Hampshire, where he's staked his campaign, before pivoting to swipes at his fellow candidates.
"New Hampshire is always going to be that state that upends conventional wisdom," he said of what his campaign hopes to be a boomlet of sorts in the Granite State. He said he's the only candidate who won't "pander" or "twist myself into a pretzel" compared to the others on stage, and he won some applause from the audience for saying he wouldn't attend the "Don Trump" debate.
On Iran, a subject on which the candidates so far today have worked to out-hawk each other, he said "If we can't live with a nuclear Iran, and I can't, you have to say all options are on the table."
Asked about the Belgian ambassador's recent comments that many interpreted as anti-Semitic, Huntsman implied that the problem reached far beyond the single envoy alone, saying that critics should work to find out "who higher up is responsible" for the language critical of Israeli leaders.