The only female committee chair in the House of Representatives, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is the body's leading foreign-policy legislator and a frequent thorn in the Obama administration's side, castigating the president for playing "political games with U.S. foreign policy." Whether criticizing the president's relationship with Israel and her native Cuba, calling for the United States to scale back U.N. funding, or pushing for a harder line against Bashar al-Assad's government in Syria, she's a strong voice not only for GOP interests but also for her constituents back in Florida -- a key battleground in the upcoming election. Most recently, Ros-Lehtinen helped shepherd through Congress a bill tightening sanctions against Iran.
With more than $20 million in donations, Sheldon Adelson almost single-handedly bankrolled Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign this year. The staunch pro-Israel hawk, who opposes any land concessions to the Palestinians, has since hopped on board the Romney money train and gotten behind a high-profile effort to convince Jewish voters to vote Republican, even traveling on the candidate's recent trip to Israel. Not one to mince words, at a recent major fundraiser Adelson reportedly referred to the president as a "crybaby" who should be in diapers. The Las Vegas mogul has also attracted some unwanted attention with his controversial casino interests in Macau, including a federal investigation into allegations that his employees made illegal payments to Chinese officials. Adelson has pledged up to $100 million to the effort to defeat Obama, which should be more than enough incentive for the Romney campaign to keep him happy.
A veteran of Romney's failed 2008 presidential campaign, Jim Talent is said to be one of the former Massachusetts governor's closest aides on foreign-policy issues. The one-time Missouri senator was ousted from his seat in 2006 by Claire McCaskill, but he remains an influential Republican powerbroker and lobbyist. Along with former Senator Bob Graham, he co-chaired the congressionally established Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, which published its final report in 2008. With strong conservative credentials, Talent, often mentioned as a leading candidate for defense secretary in a Romney administration, has become a powerful voice within the campaign's inner circle and is one of the few Romney advisors trusted to speak on the record.
Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former director of policy planning at the State Department, is often said to represent the "realist" wing of the GOP. In the early days of the George W. Bush administration, Haass served as a key aide to Colin Powell at State and suffered alongside his boss as neoconservatives came to define U.S. foreign policy. Since then, Haass -- who supported a broader multilateral coalition ahead of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and later criticized the effort as a "war of choice" -- has become an advocate of what he calls "nonpolarity," a view of the world through the prism of different power nodes, many of them non-state actors. Today, he is said to be on the short list to serve as Romney's secretary of state.