Romney's controversial video released in full
The full video of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's most recent controversial comments has been released, including his frank assessment of the Israeli/Palestinian situation and his belief that "Palestinians have no interest" in peace.
The release of the video, from the magazine Mother Jones, came a day after snippets of his appearance at a Florida fundraiser in May were made public. At the fundraiser, Romney said that 47 per cent of Americans don't pay taxes and believe they are entitled to extensive government support and believe they are victims.
"My job is not to worry about those people," he said.
Tuesday's video release revealed more of Romney's question and answer session with donors which included an inquiry about the situation with the Israelis and Palestinians.
"I'm torn by two perspectives in this regard," Romney said "One is the one which I've had for some time, which is that the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish."
Romney goes on to talk about the difficulties of establishing a Palestinian nation while maintaining security for Israel. He said, for example, Israel would not be able to patrol the borders shared between a new Palestinian state and other Arab nations to prevent countries like Iran from bringing missiles into the West Bank.
"These are problems, and they're very hard to solve," Romney said.
But Romney went on to say that the Palestinians are "not wanting to seek peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel."
He also compared the Israeli/Palestinian situation to that of China and Taiwan, saying "we have a potentially volatile situation, but we sort of live with it, and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it. We don't go to war to try and resolve it imminently."
Romney rejects "pushing on the Israelis" to give something up, saying it's the "worst idea in the world" and that it has never worked in the past.
"So the only answer is showing strength — American strength, American resolve — and if the Palestinians someday reach a point where they want peace, more than we're trying to force peace on them, then it's worth having the discussion. But until then, it's just wishful thinking," he said.
Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian peace negotiator, said Romney's comments were "very unfortunate and unacceptable statements."
"It's absolutely unfair and unacceptable, because no one stands to gain more from success of the peace process than the Palestinians," Erekat told CBC News' Derek Stoffel. "It simply means independence and freedom for us. And no one stands to lose more from the absence of peace than Palestinians."
"The lack of peace and saying that there is no hope for peace is saying to the extremists: 'Well, you won.' And that’s absolutely unacceptable," he said.
Foreign policy focus
Romney discusses a number of topics, including his frustration that Americans aren't paying enough attention to foreign policy and issues concerning China, Iran, Iraq and Russia.
He also tells the donors that President Barack Obama will engage in a "personal assassination campaign" and they'll have to fire back defensively and offensively.
Romney also says that he's not that well known amongst the American public and that it's "very interesting" given all the negative things said about him, that, at that point he was still basically tied with the president in polls.
He also talks about appearing on different television talk shows, and that he thought he did well on The View and actually got Whoopi Goldberg to say she thought she could vote for him.
He said that CBS talk-show host David Letterman "hates him" because he's been on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno more times. He said he was asked, but rejected going on Saturday Night Live because he said while you want to show you can have fun, you also want to look presidential.
Meanwhile, in an interview on Fox Tuesday, Romney said he didn't intend to write off any part of a deeply divided electorate, including seniors who are among those who often pay no taxes. Instead, he repeatedly sought to reframe his remarks as a philosophical difference of opinion between himself and Obama.
"I'm not going to get" votes from Americans who believe government's job is to redistribute wealth," he said, adding that was something Obama believes in.
He also said he wants to be president so he can help hard-pressed Americans find work and earn enough so they become income taxpayers.
With files from The Associated Press