Mitt Romney Spain Quip Adds To Foreign Policy Troubles

This was lost between the job numbers and Obama’s reluctant debate participation – but it’s a reminder of Romneys earlier international gaffes and his habit of thoughtless comments. Just like he has rallied a united conservative Britain against himself after the Olympics, he’s now making new enemies in Europe – very unnecessarily.

Mitt Romney Spain Quip Adds To Foreign Policy Troubles:

Mitt Romney Spain Quip Adds To Foreign Policy Troubles

By BRADLEY KLAPPER 10/07/12 10:35 AM ET EDT 

Mitt Romney Spain

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during his debate with US President Barack Obama at Magness Arena at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado, October 3, 2012. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/GettyImages)

WASHINGTON — If Mitt Romney becomes president, he might need a crash course in Diplomacy 101.

He irritated Britons and Palestinians during a summer tour abroad and has declared Russia to be America’s No. 1 geopolitical foe. Just last week, the Republican candidate, who plans a foreign policy speech Monday, raised eyebrows in Spain by holding it up as a prime example of government spending run amok.

That left Spaniards confused, and threatened to reinforce Romney’s perceived handicap in international affairs, precisely at a time when lingering questions over the Sept. 11 attacks against the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, has President Barack Obama on the defensive.

“I don’t want to go down the path of Spain,” Romney said Wednesday night during the first presidential debate. He argued that government spending under Obama has reached 42 percent of the U.S. economy, a figure comparable with America’s NATO ally. “I want to go down the path of growth that puts Americans to work.”

The remark was Romney’s latest to cause international offense during a campaign that much of the world is closely monitoring. (..)

Spanish reaction to Romney was swift.

What I see is ignorance of what is reality, but especially of the potential of the Spanish economy,” said Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria.

Maria Dolores Cospedal, leader of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s Popular Party, noted that “Spain is not on fire from all sides like some on the outside have suggested.” Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo called it “very unfortunate that other countries should be put up as examples” when the facts are skewed. (…)

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