Romney advisor Tara Wall gets roasted by CNN’s Soledad O’Brien in a preview of Mitt’s ballyhooed foreign policy speech to be given later today. In the 5-minute video O’Brien plays back key parts of the 47% tape, in which Mitt describes what he believes is the futility of dealing with the Palestinians; she then contrasts those surreptitiously recorded statements with the transcript of today’s speech, where he claims to be in favor of a two-state solution. She asks Wall if she can resolve the obvious contradictions, when things get a little surreal.
O’BRIEN: There’s a range. But let’s talk about Iran for a moment, and when you actually analyze the candidates’ positions, if you look at Governor Romney’s position on Iran and that red line that as you remember Benjamin Netanyahu was drawing in his speech and President Obama’s position – they’re very similar, aren’t they, identical really?
WALL: Well, Soledad, I’m not going to get into the back and forth on foreign policy. I’m not a foreign policy expert. And, again, I think Americans need to understand there is a clear and distinct choice between these candidates relative to their approaches to foreign policy and how we lead, how we have led, how this President has led, how this President failed to lead in a large degree –
O’BRIEN: But if their positions are similar, then – but if their positions are similar, Tara, then there’s not a big difference between the two candidates.
WALL: Listen, Soledad, I’m sure you can find similarities in a number of positions with leaders on a number of different issues. The point being is there is a clear and distinct difference relative to how we lead when we deal with terrorists and when we’re dealing with helping those who want to be free in Democrat societies across the Middle East. I think there are those clear differences that have been spelled out, that we do spell out and the approach that this Governor takes and plans to take relative to cracking down on terrorists and enemies and those who are out to harm us and out to harm our allies.
O’BRIEN: So let’s take a look at peace in the Middle East and the obviously dispute between Israel and the Palestinian territory. So here’s what we know he is going to say in his speech this – later today. He’s going to say, “Finally, I will recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel.” And as you well know, this is very contradictory to what we know he was saying in that tape that was leaked – the 47% tape that they talk about. So let me play you a little bit of what he said about this very issue, right, the peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Listen.
ROMNEY: I’m torn by two perspectives in this regard. 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.
O’BRIEN: I’m gonna play another chunk of it a little bit later on in that same speech, the one that was recorded surreptitiously. Let’s play that.
ROMNEY: And I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues and as I say, there’s just no way. And so what you do is you say, you move things along the best way you can. You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain unsolved problem.
O’BRIEN: Okay. So, as you know and you just heard, that’s completely contradictory to what I read you the first time around. “I will recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel.” Those are completely contradictory. Which one is true?
WALL: The fact is, it’s the President who’s failed in the negotiation process. He’s the leader right now of this country and he has failed - O’BRIEN: And Tara that was an excellent shift but answer for me about Governor Romney. We can talk about the President in a minute. WALL: That is my answer. Well, no, that is my answer, Soledad.
O’BRIEN: Your answer is about President Obama – a question about Governor Romney is the answer about President Obama? WALL: I think the Governor has made his position clear relative to where we stand with Israel, and the President is the one who has failed – O’BRIEN: He hasn’t, is my point. He hasn’t.
WALL: – that decided to meet with entertainment folks and people like that, rather than Benjamin Netanyahu, and I think that there – again – there’s a clear position here –
O’BRIEN: It’s not. That’s my point. It’s not clear. My point, Tara, hold on. Hold on. Hold on. Just hold on. My point is, it’s completely contradictory. So my question is, which is it?
WALL: In your viewpoint.
O’BRIEN: Okay. Then tell me how it’s not completely contradictory in your viewpoint, but don’t talk to me about President Obama at this moment. Answer the question about Governor Romney.
WALL: We will stand side by side with – we will stand side by side with Israel, and the Governor has made that clear. I’m not going to get into a big foreign policy debate with you here. That’s not – that’s not my position. That’s not my role. And that’s – you know, if you want to talk about that, I suggest you put on a couple of foreign affairs experts and let them go at it and pick this apart the way that you’d like to have it picked apart. But I think we clearly stated –
O’BRIEN: That’s unfair. I’m just asking you about the contradictory message. That’s unfair. I’m only asking you about a contradictory message. WALL: That’s contradictory in your view.
O’BRIEN: You could explain it then. Alright, Tara Wall, thank you for talking with us this morning.
WALL: Not if I don’t agree with the premise.
O’BRIEN: Or you could explain that even I would take, but apparently we’re not going to get to that either. Thank you for talking with us this morning. We appreciate it.