NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There was furor on the presidential campaign trail Wednesday over Mitt Romney’s secretly taped comments on the Middle East peace process.
Romney said the Palestinians don’t want a solution and the situation is hopeless, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
Is it the plain truth, or offensive rhetoric? The debate raged Wednesday about Romney’s comments recorded during a campaign fundraiser.
The first comment to stir an outcry is as follows:
“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,” Romney said.
The second assessment-generating comment stated that getting peace in the region is a hopeless cause.
“You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem. We live with that in China and Taiwan. All right, we have a potentially volatile situation but we sort of live with it,” Romney said.
“He was just being honest,” Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind said. “Mitt Romney was not being politically correct, forgive him. Mitt Romney was being honest, forgive him. Forgive him for not being a traditional politician and just telling people what many people want to hear.”
“This is an ill-informed opinion by a presidential candidate,” said Dr. Ghassan Shabaneh of Marymount Manhattan College. “Peace in the Middle East is a supreme national security issue for the United States and for the presidential candidate to state this opinion about one party versus the other is uncalled for, first and foremost, and unprofessional.”
Some said Romney made a big mistake.
“Romney is not serving anybody because the majority of Jewish Americans would like to see a two-state solution,” Dr. Shabaneh said.
But in a tight election could Romney’s pro-Israel stance take Jewish votes away from President Barack Obama?
“I have no doubt in my mind that President Obama will not do as well with the Jewish vote in this election in November. I have no doubt about it,” Assemblyman Hikind said.
The White House blasted Romney’s remarks.
“It is simply the wrong approach to say we can’t do anything, so we’ll just kick it down the field. That’s not leadership. That’s the opposite of leadership,” Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
On Thursday, Romney will be talking to rabbis across America in a campaign conference call squeezed in between the High Holidays. He’s hoping to get 35 percent of the Jewish vote. In 2008, President Obama won 78 percent of the Jewish vote, while opponent John McCain got 22 percent.
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