Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Romney's Missteps Mar Tour; Remarks about Cultural Differences Accounting for Israel's Success Upset Palestinians

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Romney's Missteps Mar Tour; Remarks about Cultural Differences Accounting for Israel's Success Upset Palestinians

Article excerpt

GDANSK, POLAND - It wasn't supposed to be this way.

Mitt Romney outraged Palestinians on Monday, stirring fresh controversy on his visit to Israel just days after insulting the British on what was intended as a feel-good visit to the Olympics in London.

Romney's latest trouble stemmed from a speech he gave to Jewish donors in which he suggested that their culture was part of what has allowed them to be more economically successful than the Palestinians. Kind words for Israel are standard for many American politicians, but Palestinian leaders suggested his specific comments were racist and out of touch with the realities of the Middle East.

Romney drew his share of favorable media coverage back home. A speech on Israel policy, delivered at dusk against the scenic backdrop of Jerusalem's Old City, drew praise for its setting and delivery. He and his wife, Ann, appeared relaxed and engaged in an interview on CNN.

Still, his missteps in the past week have fueled opponents' contentions that the former businessman and Massachusetts governor is out of touch with the nation and the world he hopes to lead.

As the trip got under way, Romney caused a stir in Britain by questioning whether officials there were fully prepared to host the Olympic Games. The dispute overshadowed his efforts to highlight his personal experience leading the Salt Lake City Games a decade ago. Instead, Romney was widely assailed by the London media and criticized by British leaders.

Then on his first day in Israel, Romney distanced himself from an adviser's suggestion that he would "respect" a decision by Israel to launch military action to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capability.

On Monday at a fundraiser, opened to the media after the campaign first said it would be closed, Romney shared a sentiment he sometimes talks about on the campaign trail in the United States and repeats in his book, "No Apology. …

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