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Romney: Tough talk

Romney gets front-page treatment from the big newspapers for his trip to Israel:

The New York Times: “Romney backs Israeli position on facing Iran.”
The Washington Post: “Romney: Iran ‘containment’ not an option.”
The Wall Street Journal: “Romney talks tough.”
USA Today: “Romney takes aim at Iran.”
The Jerusalem Post: “Romney: US must give Israel diplomatic support, not just military and intel cooperation.” Subhead: “Republican presidential hopeful has tough rhetoric on Iran but stops short of pledging military action.”
Haaretz: “Romney in J’lem: Obama’s Mideast policies bolster Israel’s enemies.”
The Cleveland Plain Dealer (sidebar): “Romney says he’ll stand with Israel against Iran.”

(Question though: Are these really positives? This is a lot of saber-rattling from someone wanting to be the leader of a war-weary nation. And if the campaign’s calculation is this is going to win over American Jews, it’s doubtful this will win over the two-thirds that voted for Obama. The people this appeals to -- conservative to orthodox Jews and evangelical Christians -- were already voting for Romney.)

“Required by law”… Political Wire: “Mitt Romney was asked by ABC News if there was ever any year when he paid lower than a 13.9% effective tax rate as his 2010 tax returns show. Said Romney: ‘I haven't calculated that. I'm happy to go back and look but my view is I've paid all the taxes required by law.’” He went on to note that he’s been audited in the past. 

Newsweek cover: “The WIMP Factor: Is he just too insecure to be president.” Story by Michael Tomasky.

Romney’s response to CBS: "If I worried about what the media said I wouldn't get much sleep, and I sleep pretty well.” And, he said, “They tried that on George Herbert Walker Bush. He was a pretty great president and anything but. And, per CBS: Romney said he “doesn't ‘recall’ ever being called a wimp before.”

Flashback to Newsweek, January 1987: “Fighting the ‘Wimp Factor’” about George H.W. Bush.

But also here’s Newsweek again, April 16, 2008: “The Wimp Factor: Obama is starting to look more like Kerry in ’04” by Michael Hirsch. Story here.

There’s even a book by its name from 2005 about George W. Bush.

Prospects for Middle East peace under Romney? The New York Daily News: “Romney outrages Palestinians by saying Jewish culture helps make Israel more successful .” The lede: “Mitt Romney told Jewish donors Monday that their culture is part of what has allowed them to be more economically successful than the nearby Palestinians, outraging Palestinian leaders who called his comments racist and out of touch.”

Palestinian official Saeb Erekat: “What is this man doing here? Yesterday, he destroyed negotiations by saying Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and today he is saying Israeli culture is more advanced than Palestinian culture. Isn't this racism?''

Flashback to Thursday when the Daily Mail in Great Britain asked, “Who invited him?”

The AP: “Mitt Romney's assertion that Jerusalem is Israel's capital is absolutely unacceptable, a senior Palestinian official said Monday, voicing the strongest Palestinian criticism yet of the Republican presidential candidate.” More: “Saeb Erekat, an Abbas aide, said Romney's comments about Jerusalem were ‘absolutely unacceptable,’ adding that ‘such statements and policy will push the region toward extremists.’”

Here’s Romney on his own foreign policy to CBS, per the Boston Globe: “I would say that foreign policy is a place where intelligence, resolve, clarity and confidence in cause is of extraordinary importance. … Ronald Reagan was one of our great foreign policy presidents,’’ Romney said. “He did not come from the Senate. He did not come from the foreign policy world. He was a governor. But his resolve, his clarity of purpose, his intelligence, his capacity to deal with complex issues and solve tough problems served him extremely well. And if I were elected president, I hope I could rely on those same qualities.”

As for a Romney doctrine, good luck with specifics: “Well, my doctrine is as I’ve described,” Romney said, “which is confidence in our cause, clarity in our purpose and resolve in our might.”

Romney aide Dan Senor: “It is an existential threat and we in the West partnering with Israel should do everything we can from stopping Iran from developing that weapons capability. And if Israel has to take action on its own, in order to stop Iran from developing that capability the governor would respect that decision.”

The Ron Paul story: “Sixteen Republicans elected to represent Massachusetts at the national convention in Tampa next month have filed a formal challenge with the Republican National Committee, saying they were unfairly disqualified based on state GOP leaders’ concerns about their fealty to presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney,” the Boston Globe reports. “The group of delegates — originally supporters of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul — were elected in April caucuses at which they unexpectedly defeated many of Romney’s chosen delegates, but they have been since disqualified by state party officials.”

More: “The filing sets off a formal but uphill process for the would-be delegates, who hope to convince national party officials that they are being unfairly excluded from the Republican National Convention, to be held Aug. 27-30 in Tampa. An RNC committee is expected to consider the challenge by mid-August, but the party is not expected to make a decision until the week before the convention. … The legal counsel for the Republican National Committee could not be reached on Friday and a committee spokeswoman declined to comment. A spokesman for the Massachusetts Republican Party referred calls to the RNC. … In their letter, the so-called liberty delegates say they were duly elected in April, but disqualified after failing to provide timely affidavits pledging their support to Romney.”