Mitt Romney's overseas tour has hit one snag after another. First, the Republican presidential hopeful slammed the London for not having adequate security for the Olympic games, prompting a verbal jab from the city's mayor, and now he's angered Palestine.
During his stop in Israel, Romney praised the country for its economic success, while slamming Palestine, Monday (July 30). "As you come here and you see the GDP (gross domestic product) per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, 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," he said during a donor breakfast attended by around 40 wealthy supporters at the King David Hotel."And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things."
Once leaders in Palestine, the country which has had a long-standing rift with neighboring Israel, heard his words, they accused Romney of being discriminatory. "It is a racist statement and this man doesn't realize that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation," said Saeb Erekat, who works as a senior aide to the country's president, Mahmous Abbas. "It seems to me this man lacks information, knowledge, vision and understanding of this region and its people. He also lacks knowledge about the Israelis themselves. I have not heard any Israeli official speak about cultural superiority."
In response to the allegations, Romney's camp said that his words were "grossly mischaracterized," but the damage may be already done. According to the CIA World Factbook, Romney was not totally off base with his comments. Israel's GDP per capita is actually $31,400, and while he maintains that he was merely comparing economic difference between two neighboring countries—like the U.S. and Mexico—causing problems with both London and Palestine in one swoop, has done little to curb the now global perception that the 65-year-old is "out of touch."
He also broke what the Washington Post characterized as an "unwritten rule of American campaigning" by criticizing the president while overseas. Romney called out President Obama for his handling of Poland's issues with Russia. "They courageously agreed to provide sites for our anti-missile defense systems, only to be told at the last hour that the agreement was off....I can only guess what [Russian President] Vladimir Putin makes of the Obama administration."
Today, Romney is scheduled to meet with Poland's Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, among other political figures.
In the race for electoral votes, Romney is being beaten by Obama at 290-191.
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