JERUSALEM -- Mitt Romney begins a six-day overseas tour Wednesday to meet leaders in England, Israel and Poland and demonstrate his statesmanship and foreign policy chops - as well as to rake in campaign cash and woo voters living abroad.
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In London, Romney will attend a joint fundraising dinner with other GOP committees where guests will pay up to $75,000 a plate, according to an invitation The Washington Post posted on its website.
In Israel, he will attend a $50,000-a-head fundraiser and participate in get-out-the-vote drives with U.S. citizens living in Israel, said Kory Bardash, co-chairman of Republicans Abroad Israel, a group that has 1,000 members.
"People are very excited and appreciative of governor Romney coming to Israel during a highly complex and highly charged campaign season in the U.S.," Bardash said, adding that his group was paying special attention to voters living in Israel who hail from battleground states such as Florida and Ohio.
Romney will spend two days in each country visiting high-ranking officials, kicking off his trip in London with the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. He plans to meet the prime ministers of Ireland and Great Britain.
In Israel, Romney will confer with U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
His final stop will be in Poland, where the Romney campaign said it had received a personal invitation from former president and Solidarity movement leader Lech Walesa to visit the country.
Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said he believes the Romney campaign chose its itinerary hoping to "prick up the ears of certain groups in the U.S." - namely voters of Jewish and Eastern-European descent, viewed as critical in Florida and several Midwestern swing states.
Kupchan said Obama has been criticized in Poland for scrapping a Bush-era missile-defense system that would have been installed there. In Israel, "he's gotten a lot of criticism that he was too tough on the Israelis about the settlements and not tough enough on Iran," Kupchan said.
Obama has called for a freeze on Israeli settlement building in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. During a 2009 speech in Cairo, he urged Israel to retreat to its pre-1967 borders, angering many Jewish groups in the United States.
In Israel, both the Republican Jewish Coalition and the National Jewish Democratic Council have been campaigning heavily to register voters with dual citizenship.
Former Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer visited in July and a yet-to-be named Democratic congressmember is expected to come boost support in August.
In 2011, the Federal Voting Assistance Program, ranked Israel as having the third-highest population of Americans living abroad, behind Mexico and Canada, with approximately 163,395 U.S. citizens. The United Kingdom ranks fourth and is home to 143,000 Americans.
"Those expatriate communities are active in voting and probably have a good donor community," said Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, president of the Virginia-based Overseas Vote Foundation.
Some eligible voters are the children or grandchildren of Americans who have never resided in the United States. Twenty-three states allow voters to register without ever having lived there.
"The big numbers are those who moved to Israel many years ago and now have many descendants who are eligible to vote," said Elie Pieprz, 39, a dual citizen originally from Mercer Island, Wash., who is the national director for iVoteIsrael, a non-partisan group that has held dozens of voter-registration drives in Israel this year.
"We are connected to America in a very strong way, and American foreign policy has an impact on Israel in more ways than in other places," he said.