Just to get this out of the way up front, Romney spokesperson Senior Communications Advisor Tara Wall was worse than pathetic in her dodging of O’Brien’s question about Romney’s upcoming foreign policy speech. I hope to never see Tara Wall on TV again as a spokesperson for Romney unless she’s willing to do her homework and know the issues. She was absolutely terrible.
That said here’s how the interview went down. Romney released a portion of his foreign policy speech today that promises to recommit American to a prosperous and peaceful Palestinian state beside Israel. Here’s the full quote:
Finally, I will recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel. On this vital issue, the President has failed, and what should be a negotiation process has devolved into a series of heated disputes at the United Nations. In this old conflict, as in every challenge we face in the Middle East, only a new President will bring the chance to begin anew.
Soledad O’Brien plays that quote and then plays portions from his fundraiser in May where he spoke on the Israel/Palestinian issue. Here’s what she quoted:
I’m torn by two perspectives in this regard. One is the one which I’ve had for some time, which is that the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish. …
And 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. So what you do is you move things along the best way you can, you hope for some degree of stability.
O’Brien then states that these statements are contradictory and asks the spokesperson to explain. And while they may seem contradictory, Soledad leaves out a portion of the fuller quote from Romney in that same answer.
Romney started his answer to the question of how to solve the Israel/Palestinian problem at his fundraiser back in May by saying “I’m torn by two perspectives in this regard.” So we know he has two different perspectives on the issue that he’s torn between. The problem is O’Brien only gave us one perspective. Here’s his second perspective from the fuller quote:
On the other hand, I got a call from a former secretary of state — and I won’t mention which one it was — but this individual said to me, “You know, I think there’s a prospect for a settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis after the Palestinian elections.” I said, “Really?” And, you know, his answer was yes. I think there’s some prospect. And I didn’t delve into it, but you know, I always keep open the idea. But I have to tell you, the idea of pushing on the Israelis to give something up to get the Palestinians to act is the worst idea in the world. We have done that time and time and time again. It does not work. So the only answer is show strength, again. American strength, American resolve, and if the Palestinians someday reach a point where they want peace more than we’re trying to force peace on them, then it’s worth having the discussion. But until then it’s just wishful thinking.
So where’s the contradiction Soledad? Romney says in the full quote that he’s open to the idea of peace if the Palestinians are serious about actually wanting peace, but he’s not so stupid as to be fooled by their fake cry for peace while really wanting to destroy Israel. But he will in good faith, as president, recommit America to that peace process using American strength and resolve to try and achieve the goal of peace.
See, no contradiction. And if Soledad had been honest and unbiased she would have included that quote.
You can watch the clip below, but I warn you that neither side in this clip will make you happy: