W.H.: Reaction to Romney comment shows challenges of diplomacy
WHITE HOUSE (AP) -
The White House says it appears that Mitt Romney's comments today in Jerusalem left some people "scratching their heads a little bit."
Romney told a group of Jewish donors that their culture was part of what allowed them to be more economically successful than the Palestinians are.
A Palestinian official called it a "racist statement," and said Romney should know that the Palestinian economy is hampered by an Israeli occupation.
But a Romney campaign spokeswoman says his comments were "grossly mischaracterized." The spokeswoman says Romney has also compared other countries that are neighbors but that have wide differences in their income -- including the U.S. and Mexico, and Chile and Ecuador. So, she says he wasn't just talking about Israel and the Palestinians.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest sidestepped questions about whether President Barack Obama agrees with Romney's comments about cultural differences. Earnest says the president believes that economic issues are among the matters that would have to be addressed by Israelis and Palestinians in peace talks.
But the spokesman added that having comments like this one analyzed for "nuance" is "one of the challenges of being an actor on the international stage."