John McCain says Mitt Romney’s planned visit to Israel is ‘important’

Arizona Senator John McCain on Sunday defended presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s plan to visit Israel this summer but seemed less enthusiastic about a trip to the London Olympics.

“I really think it’s important that Mitt Romney go to Israel,” McCain said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” “particularly, since these are the most very dangerous times; as you know, the talks with Iran predictably have failed, and we are facing what could be a serious crisis between Israel and Iran, so I strongly support that.”

Romney’s itinerary includes meetings with Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu; and president, Shimon Peres. He is also expected to meet with Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority; American Ambassador to Israel Daniel B. Shapiro; and leaders of Israel’s opposition Labor Party.

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President Obama made a similar visit to Israel as a candidate in July 2008.

McCain, the GOP nominee that year, offered his support for Romney’s trip in response to Democrats who criticized Romney for being on vacation at his lakefront mansion in Wolfeboro, N.H. at the time of another weak jobs report last week.

“Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer asked McCain whether Romney might receive similar criticism for his upcoming foreign travels and wondered whether the candidate should stay “closer to home”?

“You know, it’s hard for me to say what a presidential nominee should or shouldn’t do,” McCain said, “and I know that those decisions are thought through.”

“The Olympics, you know, Mitt Romney has a history of taking the Olympics in Salt Lake City from total disaster and actual criminal behavior to the most successful in history,” he added. “But I don’t presume to tell him where he should go or where he shouldn’t go.”