Elections 2012

Which Potential Romney VP Pick Gets the Most Matzah Balls

Lior Mizrahi / Getty Images

Lior Mizrahi / Getty Images

Pundits expect Romney to announce his pick for Vice President any day now. And though his running mate remains a mystery, we know his pick is going to need to be as uncompromisingly pro-Israel as he is. To make Romney's choice a little easier, we ranked some of the top VP contenders in terms of their Israel policies and Jewish cred. Check out this slideshow to find how many Matzah Balls (1-5) each one scores!

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Tim Pawlenty

Bio: Tim Pawlenty is the former governor of Minnesota as well as the former Majority Leader in the Minnesota House of Representatives. 

Quote:  There should be “no daylight between our words or our deeds or our actions between the United States of America and the country of Israel.”

Analysis: Pawlenty’s breed of Israel support reaps dual benefits; not only does it please Jewish voters, but it also excites the GOP’s evangelical Christian base:  He commented once that if people thought he was pro-Israel, they should really meet his wife Mary, an evangelical Christian. In 2011, Pawlenty spoke at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual conference, an evangelical organization that lists supporting Israel as a top priority.

Score: 4/5 Matzah Balls

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Paul Ryan

Bio: Paul Ryan is the congressman for Wisconsin’s first district.  He’s served seven congressional terms and is the Chairman of the House Budget Committee

Quote: "America has no better friend in the Middle East than the nation of Israel. Not only is Israel the region’s only fully functioning democracy, with a government based on popular consent and the rule of law, but it is also a valuable ally against Islamic extremism and terrorism."

Analysis: Ryan supports direct negotiations and a two-state solution, policies that won’t win him any points with Romney BFF Sheldon Adelson. And though he’s supported Israel politically, he hasn’t headlined any AIPAC conferences or hobnobbed with Israeli politicians, knocking him down a few points when compared to his fellow potential candidates.

Score: 3/5 Matzah Balls

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Rob Portman

Bio: Rob Portman is an Ohio Senator.

Quote: “We should stand strongly with our ally Israel, the only Democracy in the Middle East.  After the United Nations’ latest anti-Israeli actions and at a time when Middle East tensions are high, it is more important than ever to remain committed to a strong Israel"

Analysis: Portman used his congressional recess to travel to Israel, where he toured an Iron Dome battery, met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and other high-ranking officials, and affirmed America’s commitment to its ally. He has also described Obama’s call for Israel to return to its 1967 borders as “troubling.” Portman spoke at the 2012 Freedom and Faith coalition, winning points for his command of the evangelical vote. 

Score: 5/5 Matzah Balls

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Chris Christie

Bio: Chris Christie is the current Governor of New Jersey.  He previously worked as the United States Attorney for New Jersey.

Quote: “Our partnership with Israel is not based on generosity but because they have earned our support. Rather than use cute words and phrases, our commitment to Israel should be unambiguous and easily understood.”

Analysis: How much does Governor Christie love Israel? Let us count the ways.  In May he traveled to Israel—his first international trip as governor—on a trip he named “Jersey to Jerusalem.”  He expressed “unambiguous” support for Israel on his trip and, as icing on the cake, managed to get Israel’s hard-line Prime Minister to crack a joke. Supporting Israel comes with perks; CBS reported Christie he was “treated like a rock star” while visiting the holy land.   Just days after his return Christie met with New Jersey Jewish leaders.  He was also the keynote speaker at the 2012 Republican Jewish Coalition.  Wow.

Score: 5/5 Matzah Balls

Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty Images

Condoleezza Rice

Bio: Condoleezza Rice was the 66th Secretary of State.  She currently runs the international consulting firm RiceHadleyGates LLC with two other former Bush officials, Stephen J. Hadley and Robert Gates. 

Quote: “We realized that Israel, our good friend, was very advanced in this [security] area. Security has been a concern of Israel’s since the day it was born.”

Analysis: Rice’s tenure as Secretary of State places more daylight between her policies and Israel’s than Romney would like; In 2008 she called Israeli plans to expand housing in East Jerusalem “simply not helpful” to peace negations and pushed for the 2006 elections in Gaza that resulted in a Hamas victory.  Rice’s redeeming quality: she’s visited Israel a whopping 25 times. 

Score: 2/5 Matzah Balls

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Jeb Bush

Bio: Jeb Bush was the Governor of Florida from 1999 through 2006.

Quote: "And if there's any attempt to impose a different vision, the United States is committed to intervene and provide support to the state of Israel.”

Analysis: Local newspaper The Orlando Sentinel reported in 1998 “One day Jeb Bush is in a Sunrise synagogue, a yarmulke on his head, swaying from side to side while praying with devout Jews.” And in 2002 Ariel Sharon, Israel’s Prime Minister at the time, appeared at a Miami rally in support of Bush. Enough said.   

Score: 5/5 Matzah Balls

Edward Linsmier / Getty Images

Marco Rubio

Bio: Marco Rubio has served as a Florida senator since January 2011.

Quote: “Israel has to do whatever Israel needs to do for their own national security. You would hope the United States, by taking a stronger role, would prevent that from needing to happen. But ultimately, I don’t think any of us are going to blame Israel if they take it upon themselves to ensure that the security and well being of their people is safeguarded.”

Analysis: Just days after his election as a Florida senator, Rubio took off to Jerusalem.  His trip won him major points with AIPAC, which supported his victory.  His endorsement from the Israel lobby, paired with his support of an Israeli strike on Iran, aligns him well with Romney. He has addressed the Republican Jewish Coalition (like Christie) as well as the Faith and Freedom Coalition (like Pawlenty). On the evening of the Florida primary race, Rubio called Israel “our best friend in the world.”  If Israel is looking for congressional allies, it should look no further than Rubio.

Score: 5/5 Matzah Balls

Herman Chanania / GPO via Getty Images)

Ronald Reagan

Bio: Ronald Reagan is dead.  He was the 40th President of the United States and lives on as a Republican icon.

Quote: “Further settlement activity is in no way necessary for the security of Israel and only diminishes the confidence of the Arabs that a final outcome can be freely and fairly negotiated.”

Analysis: Romney would plotz if he saw Reagan's record. In 1982 Reagan called for a settlement freeze.  He placed an embargo on F-16 aircraft sales to Israel. He supported UN resolutions that condemned Israel for its treatment of terrorists, for its annexation of land, and for attacking Lebanon (in a conversation with then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin, he likend an attack on Beirut to a “holocaust”). Reagan visited Israel as president a total of zero times.  That’s right. Zero. So if Israel support is an important criteria in Romney’s VP pick, Reagan probably wouldn't have made the qualifying round.

Score: 1/5 Matzah Balls