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GOP candidates target Obama's Middle East policy

Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and others blame the president for the issues looming over the U.N. General Assembly, saying he has endangered Israel and emboldened the Palestinians to push for statehood.

September 21, 2011|By Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times

On Tuesday, Perry emphasized that the Palestinians must recognize Israel's right to exist, "and to exist as a Jewish state," an important addition lacking in his magazine comments.

He also called on Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to persuade all Palestinian factions, including the militant group Hamas, to renounce violence, rather than simply repeat his magazine comments in which he demanded the Palestinians renounce violence — something they did in the Oslo accords.

In a USA Today/Gallup poll released Tuesday, Perry leads Romney 31% to 24% among Republicans. Both are running well ahead of the field, with only one other candidate — Texas Rep. Ron Paul — scoring in the double digits.

But the poll also finds that most Republicans, 53%, would prefer that the party nominate the person who has the best chance of beating Obama, even if the nominee does not agree with them on almost all of the issues.

tina.susman@latimes.com

Times staff writer Seema Mehta in Des Moines contributed to this report.

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