Published July 31, 2012
Mitt Romney, in an interview with Fox News, accused the media of attempting to "divert" attention from more substantive issues by harping on his so-called gaffes overseas.
"I realize that there will be some that in the fourth estate ... who are far more interested in finding something to write about that is unrelated to the economy, to geo-politics, to the threat of war, to the reality of conflict in Afghanistan today, to nuclearization of Iran," Romney told Fox News' Carl Cameron, after wrapping up his final event in Warsaw, Poland.
With the candidate heading home after a weeklong tour across three countries, the Republican presidential candidate expressed frustration with the way some of his remarks have been portrayed by both the media and Democratic campaign operatives. Delivering the most outright criticism of the Obama administration since he landed on foreign soil, Romney said: "They'll instead try to find anything else to divert from the fact that these last four years have been tough for our country. They've been years of tumult and war and we need to see a better direction taken on the part of our nation."
Romney also specifically responded for the first time to remarks he made at a fundraiser in Israel Monday implying that Israel's economy is stronger than Palestine's because of culture. The comments were branded as "racist" by some Palestinian leaders, but Romney denied he was being culturally insensitive.
"I'm not speaking about it, did not speak about the Palestinian culture or the decisions made in their economy." Instead, he said he's pointing out "that the choices that a society makes has a profound impact on the economy and the vitality of that society."
The fallout from the remarks spilled over into Tuesday as he was finishing a tour of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a memorial for Pope John Paul II in Warsaw. Despite the somber nature of the moment, U.S. reporters shouted questions at him and were told in colorful language by a Romney aide to show respect.
In the interview with Fox News, the GOP candidate maintained that he was "very pleased" with his trip -- which spanned six days and made stops in Great Britain, Israel and Poland -- despite the reports of foreign fumbles.
He sat down with at least a dozen foreign leaders in all three nations, yet his official meetings seemed overshadowed by media reports of missteps.
On his first day in Great Britain he became something of the British press' whipping boy when he questioned the readiness of the U.K. to host the Olympic Games. Headlines read, "Who invited you?" and "Mitt, the party-pooper."
Romney left Warsaw Tuesday afternoon Boston-bound. He will return to the States campaigning in high gear and to speculation of an impending vice presidential pick announcement.
Though he wouldn't offer a timeline or even a hint as to who the pick may be, the candidate did tell Fox News about a new app called "Mitt's VP," which allows people to be find out via mobile phone the moment he announces.
While overseas, Romney kept largely to his word and refrained from criticizing the president directly, yet he told Cameron that he will not be so restrained when he gets back home.
"I can assure you that when I land tonight, I will be back to my old and direct contrasts," he said.
Fox News' Nicole Busch and Carl Cameron contributed to this report.