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Romney's knock-out punches were no "stumbles"

Reader comment on item: Romney Stumbles on Foreign Policy

Submitted by Oscar B. (United States), Oct 23, 2012 at 13:55

Romney was probably being nicer to Obama than he had to when it came to Obama's actions in the Middle East. While he did throw some potential knock-out punches at Obama in the 3rd debate, it's clear he held back. Whether he stumbled is secondary, since actions are what count.

The first potential knock-out punch, which left Obama totally defenseless and he has yet to even attempt to justify, were Romney's statements:

Mr. President, the reason I call it an "apology tour" is because you went to the Middle East. You flew to Egypt, and to Saudi Arabia, and to Turkey and Iraq. And, by the way, you skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region. But you went to the other nations. By the way, they noticed that you skipped Israel.

Obama simply replied that when Romney went there, it was on fundraisers. And Romney let him off the hook, since Obama indirectly also went there for similar reasons on two occasions, both when he was senator: once with several other freshmen members of Congress, and then as a presidential candidate. He visited Yad Vashem while there. Maybe he wasn't directly asking for donations, but he knew how to gain the support of Jewish voters, and he was right. But he's never been supportive enough of Israel to visit as a private citizen and has never visited Israel as president, even when he was in the neighborhood.

Romney was also being overly restrained by avoiding Obama's fawning behavior to Egypt's new Islamist president, who even before elections, promised to void the peace treaty with Israel and terminate their natural gas sales. Romney could easily have contrasted his actions to President Morsi's election with his actions toward Israel, which they both agree is America's closest ally. Compare:

(6/24/12) "We look forward to working together with President-elect Morsi and the government he forms, on the basis of mutual respect, to advance the many shared interests between Egypt and the United States," said press secretary Jay Carney"

Yet just a few months later, "Obama Snubs Netanyahu to Hang with Jay-Z, Letterman," stated the headlines. Even Reuters summarized his behavior in their headline:

"In a highly unusual rebuff to a close ally, the White House said on Tuesday that President Barack Obama would not meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a U.S. visit later this month, as tensions escalated over how to deal with Iran's nuclear program."

Why Romney held back his punches is anyone's guess, but hold back he did. He could have added, "By the way, the world noticed that you snubbed the Prime Minister of Israel, our closest Middle East ally."

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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