After taking thinly veiled jabs at the Obama administration last week during a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, warning of the "unalloyed evil" of the Iranian regime, Mitt Romney used Iran today in a fundraising pitch to supporters of his Free & Strong America PAC.
"Iran represents the biggest threat to Israel and peace," Romney wrote in an email to supporters.
"Please help us spread the message about Iran, its reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and what that means for Israel with your most generous contribution of $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000, or even the maximum $5,000, today," he wrote.
Romney has come to occupy an intriguing space in Republican politics: a social conservative whose prime credentials appeal to pro-business Republicans, but who is also eating into the market share of the GOP's national-security wing.
Tough national security has been a theme for Romney since the early days of his 2008 campaign, but that primary left him with difficult terrain for pushing it as part of his agenda: as the race wound down to a duel with John McCain, Romney was left with an opponent whose security credentials couldn't be outdone (but whose conservative credentials, Romney's team surmised, could be).
Romney has spent a lot of his time since then talking about the economy. But he's now one of the most established national security voices in the GOP 2012 field, filled with governors and former governors--simply because he's been talking about it for longer. Huckabee won over religious conservatives in 2008, while Palin won over the die-hards. The national security wing of the GOP may well go to Romney.