Romney at Wester Wall, photo tweeted by Bonney Kapp of CBS
Mitt Romney just spent 20 minutes at the Western Wall, a few minutes of that time praying. When he was done he jammed a folded note high in a crevice between stones and Dan Senor, his advisor on Jewish issues, turned with a broad smile and gave the high sign to a group of Romney backers as if to say, The eagle has landed.
As the beaming handler indicated, the visit went off without a hitch. The Republican candidate for president wore a black yarmulke and a mannequin like smile virtually the entire time he was in the plaza and only shook a few hands. Several in the crowd called out good luck or said that Romney was the next president. One man chanted Free Pollard. Another chanted, Free your tax returns. Plus Romney visited the wall on Tisha B’Av, a mourning day when Jews commemorate the destruction of the temple. (Take that, Obama!)
I got pretty close to Romney as he came and went from prayers and three times asked him, “Governor, does Israel have a right to annex the West Bank?” He looked at me once or twice but ignored the question. Though others in the crowd corrected me, saying it’s Eretz Israel. I’ll get a video of the visit up soon.
Romney’s wife Anne came and left with him, but she had to go to the women’s side to approach the wall. The governor’s praying spot was right next to the barrier between the men’s and women’s sides of the wall, so that women reporters and staff would be able to cover the event.
Senor said it was Romney’s second or third visit to the western wall. Before Romney prayed, I asked if the governor had prepared a note and Senor said, “Yes” with the air of someone who had spent hours toiling over its composition. When I asked if someone was going to grab the note, he said, “Probably, that’s beyond our control.”