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Former Missouri Sen. Jim Talent photographed in Washington last year.
Former Missouri Sen. Jim Talent photographed in Washington last year.

WASHINGTON -- Jim Talent has not said whether he'll take the political path again but he's traveling widely as an ex-senator, joining Mitt Romney on a trip to the Middle East.

Talent will accompany Romney on portions of a trip that is taking the likely Republican presidential hopeful to Afghanistan, Israel, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.

Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said that Talent would be along for the Israel and Jordan parts of the trip.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, was a GOP presidential aspirant in 2008 and is expected to run for his party's nomination in 2012. The trip is his second to a war zone and could add to a resume that has been short on foreign policy experience.

Talent, a St. Louis County Republican who lost his Senate seat to Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., in 2006, was an adviser to Romney in 2008 on defense and foreign policy matters. Talent is believed to be considering another campaign against McCaskill, who is up for re-election in 2012. 

Since losing his re-election bid, Talent has served on a high-profile, bipartisan commission examining threats from bioterrorism and other weapons of mass destruction.

Talent also has worked on a behind-the-scenes panel in Washington examining an array of defense issues, from weapons procurement to the appropriate role of the United States in global affairs.

Romney's entourage reportedly planned to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. They also were briefed by Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The trip is paid for with a blend of personal money and contributions fromn the International Republican Institute and the American Israel Education Foundation, the Washington Post reported.

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