Romney: Obama 'timid and weak' on Iranian threat to Israel

Romney painted the 2012 election as a stark choice for American society between a dangerous path toward international appeasement and weakness, propagated by Obama, and a return to prosperity and strength.

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"He is seeking to replace our merit-based society with an entitlement society," the former Massachusetts governor said, claiming that Obama's apporach reflects his lack of understanding of the competitive world and replaces opportunity with certainty. "But there's another certainty: They'll all be poor."

Romney navigated delicately through two issues that have continued to pose challenges to his candidacy: His Mormon faith, which polls show make many voters uncomfortable; and the contention by Romney's opponents from both parties that he assumes whatever positions are most politically advantageous.

"My family, my faith, freedom. These are enduring truths in my life," Romney said. "My commitments are firm. They don't falter."

Like Huntsman and Santorum, Romney made the threat posed by Iran's nuclear program the central component of his argument for why the United States must actively support Israel's security and well-being.

"We keep talk about crippling sanctions," he said. "We just don't do it."

Spotting an opportunity to carry the conservative mantle on an issue high on the minds of many in the GOP base, Romney has frequently touted a pro-Israel philosophy and gone on the attack against Obama for not doing enough to bolser the U.S. ally. 

He accused Obama of "throwing Israel under the bus" in May when Obama suggested Israeli-Palestinian negotiations use the pre-1967 borders as a starting point.