(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) – Mitt Romney said Wednesday that he couldn’t “imagine saying no” to a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. His comment came a day after The White House announced that President Obama and the Israeli leader would not meet in person later this month when Netanyahu is in New York for the U.N. General Assembly.
“I stand with our friends in Israel, I stand with our allies,” Romney said while shaking hands with supporters in Florida today. “I can’t ever imagine, if the prime minister of Israel asked to meet with me, I can’t ever imagine saying no.”
“They’re our friends, they’re our closest allies in the Middle East,” said Romney.
The White House said Tuesday that the Netanyahu’s and Obama’s schedules made an in-person meeting impossible, despite the fact that the two leaders will travel to New York for the U.N. General Assembly just days apart from one another. The Obama administration also denied reports that Netanyahu offered to come to Washington to meet with the president.
Obama and Netanyahu spoke by telephone Tuesday evening, and according to the White House “discussed the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program and our close cooperation on Iran and other security issues.”
Earlier this week Netanyahu spoke about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, a topic Romney and Obama disagree on. The Israeli leader criticized the Obama administration, saying that those who refuse to put “red lines” before Iran have no moral right to give Israel a “red light.”
Romney met with Netanyahu during his foreign trip in July and received a warm welcome from the prime minister, who referred to the presidential candidate by his first name, “Mitt.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chieu Luu and Huizhong Wu, CNN
Ralph Ellis and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN