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Republican governors court donors at Jewish coalition event in Las Vegas

The Associated Press
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Sheldon Adelson (second from right) arrives at the Republican Jewish Coalition as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speak onSaturday, March 29, 2014, in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS — Two of the nation’s highest-profile Republican governors on Saturday called for more aggressive leadership on America’s challenges abroad, emphasizing their support for Israel as they courted Jewish donors.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker stoked speculation about their own presidential ambitions as they gave frustrated Republicans advice on how to reclaim the White House in 2016.

The Republican speakers at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s spring gathering largely avoided criticizing President Obama by name in remarks that were thick with rhetoric faulting Obama’s foreign policy.

“We cannot have a world where our friends are unsure of whether we will be with them and our enemies are unsure of whether we will be against them,” Christie said. “In New Jersey, nobody has to wonder whether I’m for them or against them.”

Walker declared that the nation needs a “swift and decisive” foreign policy, while insisting that the GOP must find a presidential nominee from “outside Washington.”

The Republican governors, both considering presidential bids, appeared at the Venetian resort casino, which is owned by Republican super donor Sheldon Adelson, reportedly among the 10 richest people in the world. He did not attend Walker’s speech, but he was seated directly in front of the podium as Christie spoke.

Meanwhile, many of the Republican Party’s most powerful insiders and financiers have begun a behind-the-scenes campaign to draft former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush into the 2016 race, The Washington Post reported.

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