Romney Reverses Course, Decides To Open Israel Fundraiser to Media

Sarah Huisenga
National Journal

JERUSALEM -- Reversing itself in the face of complaints, Mitt Romney's campaign said on Sunday it will permit the news media to cover a Jerusalem fundraiser that caps the presumed Republican presidential nominee's trip to Israel.

After Romney clinched the GOP nomination in April, he struck an agreement with news organizations and began opening fundraising events held in all public venues to a pool of wire service, print and television reporters. The Jerusalem event is being held on Monday at the King David Hotel.

Campaign spokesman Rick Gorka had initially said that the fundraiser was “closed press.” The next day, however, Gorka said the campaign decided to proceed under the normal arrangement.

That decision came after complaints from the media and criticism from the Obama campaign -- two things that the Republican's aides apparently feared would overshadow the event. In response to the original decision, senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod tweeted, "After London debacle, Romney team re-institutes Mittness Protection Program. Now media will be barred from his Jerusalem fundraiser."

Romney has delivered different messages to his donors when reporters are not on hand. At a closed-press fundraiser in Florida this spring, reporters from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal overheard him outline new tax policy proposals and suggest that he might dramatically shrink the Department of Education and eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Some Jewish-American donors are attending the Jerusalem fundraiser, including Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.