The New York Times is still manufacturing fallout from the Mother Jones clip of a Mitt Romney fundraiser from May, this time on Romney's supposedly damaging words about the hopeless state of the Israel-Palestinian dilemma. David Sanger in Boston wrote under the headline 'Comments Could Vex a Romney Administration," but his actual story didn't back up the strong headline.
More sharply partisan was Sarah Wheaton's Tuesday morning "Caucus" post (which has disappeared from nytimes.com but lives on elsewhere online). Wheaton writes as if criticizing the Palestinians is by definition damaging.
Just hours after Mitt Romney struggled to explain a blunt cultural assessment revealed in a leaked video from a private fund-raiser, footage of an equally blunt foreign policy assessment from the same event threatened to further derail his efforts to focus on his domestic economic policy. In a new video posted by Mother Jones, a liberal magazine, Mr. Romney says the Middle East peace process is “going to remain an unsolved problem.”
Mr. Romney has sought to cast himself as a turnaround expert, a fixer who can fashion success from the wreckage of a failing company, Olympics, or economy. But the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he can be heard saying in the video posted to the Mother Jones Web site on Tuesday morning, is a case where “we sort of live with it, and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.”
He later added, “I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues “And I say, ‘There’s just no way.’ “
This is not the first time Mr. Romney has created controversy with his remarks about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During a July fund-raiser in Israel, Mr. Romney said “culture makes all the difference” as he noted economic disparities between Israel and the Palestinian territories. Palestinians viewed the comment as disparaging and insensitive to effect of Israeli blockades.