WASHINGTON – The NBC network aired an interview with US President Barack Obama on Thursday, in which he explained why he hadn't visited Israel
during his term – a fact which Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney used against him during the last presidential debate
"I visited Israel just a number of months before I was president," Obama said. "Given how important I think the situation in the Middle East is, and our partnership with Israel, which is stronger than it's ever been — when I go to Israel, I want to make sure that we're actually moving something forward."
The president's associates said in the past year that he would not visit Israel without being able to advance the peace process, and so he chose not to visit the country just in order to satisfy Jewish voters.
Meanwhile, Obama holds a narrow lead of 1 percentage point over Romney as the race for the White House remains effectively tied less than two weeks before the November 6 election, according to a Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll released on Friday.
Obama leads Romney among likely voters by 47% to 46%, well within the online survey's credibility interval. Neither candidate has held a clear lead since shortly after their first presidential debate on October 3.
Some 18% of those surveyed already have cast their ballots, as early voting in some form has started in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, the poll found.
The survey of 1,237 likely voters, drawn from a pool of 1,610 registered voters, was conducted between Monday and Friday. The accuracy of Reuters/Ipsos polls is measured using a credibility interval. For this survey, the credibility interval is 3.2 percentage points for likely voters.
Reuters contributed to this report