Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney set off a firestorm over anger by Palestinian leaders after he suggested that the Israeli economy had outpaced the economy of the Palestinian territories in part because of advantages of “culture.”
Backpedalling quickly, Romney’s campaign said after his remarks were reported in the media while in Israel that his statement was misinterpreted. “This was not in any way an attempt to slight the Palestinians,” Stuart Stevens, Romney’s chief strategist, told reporters in a later stop in Gdansk, Poland. “And everyone knows that.”
His words as transcribed per the Washington Post:
“As you come here and you see the [Gross Domestic Product] per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality,” Romney said, according to a pool report.
“Culture makes all the difference. Culture makes all the difference,” Romney said, repeating the conclusion he drew from that book, by David Landes. “And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things.”
It was only a matter of minutes before Mitt’s spin doctors turned this around, before the candidate’s next stop.