Mitt Romney announced today that former Minnesota senator Norm Coleman will be a "special adviser" to his campaign, focusing primarily on foreign policy. "[Coleman's] advice will be critical as I lay out my vision for improving our economy at home and strengthening our partnerships around the world," Romney said in a statement.
Coleman, a former member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD that he will be advising Romney in particular on Middle East and Latin America policy.
The ongoing debate in the U.N. about the recognition of a Palestinian state, Coleman says, shows a "clear contrast" between the Obama administration's policy toward Israel and Romney's positions. "The failures [of the Obama administration] along the way that have brought us to a point where Israel’s position has been undermined," he says. "[Obama's] statement about going back to the pre-’67 borders, his statements focused on settlement issues that the problem is coming from Israel. Obama’s approval ratings in Israel are in the single digit level for good reason, and by his acts, by his words, he has undermined a confidence that Israel has in the support of what should be its strongest ally."
Asked about the lack of focus on foreign policy during the last several Republican debates, Coleman explains that the more domestic focus makes sense. "For Americans the number one issue, the number two issue, the number three issue is jobs, and so that’s the reality," he said.
"What I do get a sense of the governor is his sense of understanding of the importance of America being respected in the world," Coleman added. "I think that [under] this president...I think America’s lost a little. I think folks don’t believe us to be as strong as we need to be, as our allies need us to be."
Coleman, who lost a very close reelection battle in 2008 against Al Franken, is the second prominent Minnesota Republican, after former governor and former presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty, to endorse Romney.