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Another gaffe from Romney

HERB BOYD Special to the AmNews | 8/9/2012, 1:53 p.m.
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Mitt Romney is the presumptive Republican nominee, and presumptive is the right word in several ways, since his gaffes during his so-called international tour are making him look like a real dolt when it comes to diplomacy and foreign affairs.

After putting his foot in his mouth in England, suggesting that the British had no clue how to orchestrate the current Olympics, Romney outraged Palestinians during his visit to Israel. They charged that his comments were "racist" and "out of touch with the realities of the Middle East." Romney promptly responded, stating that his remarks were taken out of context and mischaracterized.

"As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality," Romney said during a breakfast with prominent donors at the King David Hotel.

Taking umbrage at such conclusions was Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. "It is a racist statement," he began, "and this man doesn't realize that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation.

"It seems to me this man lacks information, knowledge, vision and understanding of this region and its people," Erekat continued. "He also lacks knowledge about the Israelis themselves. I have not heard any Israeli official speak about cultural superiority."

Romney's comments, said spokesperson Andrea Saul, were mischaracterized, indicating that he was merely comparing countries in close proximity to each other, like the United States and Mexico. "His comments were grossly mischaracterized," she said.

The presidential contender had already infuriated Palestinians when he said Jerusalem was the capital of Israel, and it is easy to see that these comments are purposely stressed to shore up Romney's standing with the Israel and Jewish vote in November.