DULLEST CAMPAIGN EVERBY DAVID BROOKSNEW YORK TIMES
President Obama’s proposals are small and medium-size retreads, while Mitt Romney has run the closest thing to a policy-free race as any candidate in my lifetime. Republicans spend their days fleshing out proposals, which Romney decides not to champion. ... Both parties are driven more by hatred than by love. Both sides feel it would be a disaster for the country if the other side had power during the next four years. Neither side is propelled by much positive enthusiasm for their own side. Many Democratic politicians think Obama looks down on them as a bunch of lowlife hacks. ...he sometimes seems to regard politics as a weary duty on his path to greatness. The Republican coolness toward Romney is such that he’s having trouble recruiting people to work on the campaign.
MR. ROMNEY STUMPS IN ISRAELEDITORIALNEW YORK TIMES
The real audience for Mr. Romney’s tough talk was American Jews and evangelical Christians, some of whom accompanied him on his trip. He is courting votes and making an aggressive pitch to donors, including Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate with the hard-line pro-Israel views who is spending more money than any other American — $100 million — to defeat Mr. Obama. ... Presidents often say things on the campaign trail that they don’t mean or regret and reverse once in office, but voters can only judge a candidate on his words. The more Mr. Romney digs in on a particular position, the harder it will be to dig out, especially if the people egging you on in the first place have just donated $100 million toward your campaign.
ADVANTAGE, ROMNEYBY MARC A. THIESSENWASHINGTON POST
In Israel, Romney signaled that the days of trash-talking and back-stabbing Israeli leaders will end if he becomes president. ... Romney’s unspoken message this week is that if Israel’s supporters back home want “evenhandedness,” the best way to get it is to replace Obama in the White House. It is a message that will resonate with Jewish voters (whose support for Obama has dropped 10 points since 2008) and pro-Israel evangelicals in the United States. No doubt Romney’s foreign trip got off to a difficult start in London. But in the annals of gaffes, which is worse: One slip of the tongue suggesting London might not be ready for the Olympics or five major gaffes that have severely undermined this country’s relations with two of its most important allies?
MITT VERSUS BARACK ON ISRAELBY BRET STEPHENSWALL STREET JOURNAL
...When admirers of Israel visit the country, they typically marvel at everything it has planted, built, invented, re-imagined, restored, saved. Israel's friends think that the country has earned its success the hard way, and that it deserves to reap the rewards. Hence Mitt Romney on Sunday: "You export technology, not tyranny or terrorism. . . . What you have built here, with your own hands, is a tribute to your people." Animating one side of this divide is a sense of admiration. Animating the other is a sense of envy. Could Mr. Obama have uttered lines like Mitt Romney's? Maybe. But you get the feeling that scrolling in the back of his mind would be the words, "You didn't build that."