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Washington — Romney’s discussion of Middle East peace prospects at the fundraiser drew little attention compared to his blunt assessment of the U.S. political divide.
Romney claimed that 47% of Americans do not pay income tax and are “dependant on the government.” He said this portion of the population will vote for Obama because they believe they are “victims” and hinted that those who do not pay income tax do not take responsibility for their lives.
Romney’s attack on the two-state solution comes at the end of a week in which the Republican candidate leveled a barrage of criticism at President Obama’s foreign policy, speaking out against the administration’s dealing with the protests in the Middle East and at what Romney described as Obama’s refusal to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Obama, however, found unlikely support from the pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee. In a message for the Jewish New Year issued by AIPAC, Obama wins praise for standing up for Israel.
“We want to take this opportunity to thank America’ s elected leadership for their steadfast support of the U.S.-Israel relationship,” AIPAC’s message read, detailing the work of the administration and Congress to strengthen Israel’s security. “President Obama and the bipartisan, bicameral congressional leadership, have deepened America¹s support for Israel in difficult times,” AIPAC stated.
The video capped a difficult two-week period for Romney, who has fallen slightly behind Obama in opinion polls, taken heavy criticism for a hasty attack on the president during assaults on U.S. diplomatic compounds in Egypt and Libya and faced damaging news reports about infighting in his campaign team.
On the West Bank, Palestinians said Romney was wrong to accuse them of not seeking peace.
“No one stands to gain more from peace with Israel than Palestinians and no one stands to lose more in the absence of peace than Palestinians,” chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Reuters. “Only those who want to maintain the Israeli occupation will claim the Palestinians are not interested in peace.”
Obama’s campaign quickly criticized the video, but White House spokesman Jay Carney said he was uncertain if the president had seen it.
Reaction to the videos overshadowed an effort by Romney’s campaign to offer more policy specifics and issue a set of hard-hitting new television ads to address rising worries from Republicans about the direction of his campaign.