Scott Walker Heads To Israel

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker heads to Israel for the first time this weekend, where he hopes to augment his foreign policy credentials in advance of formally launching his presidential campaign. The governor has become a conservative darling for his stances on domestic issues, but doesn't have a lot of international experience.

Touring Israel is very nearly a requirement for Republicans looking to compete in the presidential race, as many GOP primary voters believe the United States' relationship with Israel is critical. An unflattering GQ profile painted Ben Carson, a newly minted presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon, as unable to grasp Israel's system of government. While waiting for his flight to Israel, Carson peppered his guide with questions about the Jewish state, before reportedly remarking, "It sounds complex; why don't they just adopt the system we have?"

Walker appears to have adopted a different approach designed at minimizing attention to his trip. The Walker campaign describes the trip as a "listening tour," and he does not seem to have scheduled any public appearances overseas. Walker told reporters in Milwaukee that he only plans to bring staff and advisers with him to the Middle East, and would not travel with donors.

Ford O'Connell, a GOP strategist and veteran of the McCain-Palin 2008 campaign, said Walker made the right choice to watch and listen. "Frankly, he doesn't know much about foreign policy and the best place to start, if you're going to understand the fine points of foreign policy, is starting with Israel and the Middle East," he said. "He's really starting at a lower rung than a lot of the others [on foreign policy]."

Read more from Ryan Lovelace at The Washington Examiner

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