Romney’s international travels gave Jon Stewart a lot of material (video above). Things weren’t as bad for Romney in Poland as they were in London and Israel. He did receive the endorsement of Lech Walesa, but Solidarity distanced themselves, criticizing Romney because he “supported attacks on trade unions and employees’ rights.” Romney was also greeted with chants for Obama and even ran into supporters of Ron Paul while in Poland.
The trip provided another example of Romney’s dishonesty. He denied making the controversial comments which he did make about Palestinian culture in Israel. Greg Sargent found that Romney made the same fallacious argument in his book, No Apology.
Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak undermined the Republican argument against Obama on Israel in this interview with Wolf Blitzer:
BLITZER: You’ve studied U.S.-Israeli relations over many years. How would you describe the relationship today?
BARAK: I think that from my point of view as defense minister they are extremely good, extremely deep and profound. I can see long years, administrations of both sides of the political aisle deeply supporting the state of Israel, and I believe that reflects the profound feelings among the American people. But I should tell you honestly that this administration under President Obama is doing, in regard to our security, more than anything that I can remember in the past.
BLITZER: More than any other president? LBJ, Bill Clinton, or George W. Bush?
BARAK: Yeah, in terms of the support for our security, the cooperation of our intelligence, the sharing of thoughts in a very open way even when there are differences, which are not simple sometimes, I found their support for our defense very stable.
Steve Benen debunked another anti-Obama talking from the Romney campaign on Israel:
Beth Myers, a top Romney aide, also told reporters recently that it’s “pretty amazing” Obama hasn’t visited Israel.
The attack at least has the benefit of being partially accurate — Obama visited Israel as a candidate, but has not been back during his first term. If Republicans choose to find that outrageous, their complaints are grounded in fact.
The problem, however, is the selective nature of their disgust. George W. Bush didn’t visit Israel at any point during his first term, and neither did Bill Clinton. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush didn’t travel to Israel during their respective terms in office at all.
Many journalists have questioned whether Romney’s gaffes will harm him in the campaign. Chris Cillizza downplayed the damage:
It’s hard to imagine that Romney did himself any favors in answering lingering questions about his foreign policy acumen during this trip.
On the other hand, there is an argument to be made that nothing — literally, nothing — other than the economy at home matters to undecided voters. And that goes double for foreign policy, which is a bottom-of-mind issue (is that a thing?) for most voters.
In a late May Washington Post-ABC News poll, 1 — yes, one — percent of people said that foreign policy was the most important issue of the 2012 campaign. One!
Of course this might be the case when voters think that either candidate is capable of handling foreign policy. This could change as voters see that Romney is as inept as George Bush.