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Forward 50 2012

Dan Senor

Dan Senor might be the one Jewish Republican who had more of an impact on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign than even billionaire political donor Sheldon Adelson.

A rising young foreign policy hawk, Senor, 41, speaks both the language of the neoconservative old guard and the language of the Tea Party. He served dual roles for Romney, both as a foreign policy advisor and as the top aide to Paul Ryan, all while he helped shape the campaign’s Middle East policy.

Senor first became famous as a spokesman for the U.S. occupation authority in Iraq, where he developed a reputation for saying one thing on the record and the opposite off the record. Later he wrote the 2009 best-seller “Start-up Nation,” the title of which became a pro-Israel catchphrase.

Senor briefly considered running for U.S. Senate in New York in 2010, but then thought better of it. Instead, he emerged as Romney’s top Jewish advisor. Senor planned Romney’s July trip to Israel, where the candidate met with top donors and politicians and was responsible for at least one of the trip’s missteps, when he outlined a hard-line policy on Iran that the campaign quickly softened.

But when Paul Ryan was picked as Romney’s running mate, Senor was assigned as his top advisor. He spent the rest of the campaign traveling with Ryan and preparing him for the debates.

Despite his candidate’s defeat, Senor isn’t going to disappear. Expect him to show up in years to come as a leading torchbearer for the neoconservative vanguard.

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