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Romney Misleads with Israel Ad

The truth sure is a slippery thing in the 2012 campaign. "It's beginning to seem as if everyone's at the prow of a Swift Boat, pants on fire and conscience on ice,'' writes a fired-up Frank Bruni of The New York Times, rightfully lambasting Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid for calling Republican Mitt Romney a tax scofflaw without offering an iota of proof.

While it's hard to remember who did what first, Romney took an early step down the low road  when he quoted President Obama in a television ad late last year: "If we keep talking about the economy we're going to lose.'' Only the quote was from 2008, before Obama was elected, and he was referring to remarks by Republican John McCain. More recently, the Obama campaign has unfairly characterized Romney's position on abortion in television ads.
But Romney's most recent ad is particularly galling because it seeks to suggest the president is anti-Israel or anti-Jewish. "Who shares your values?'' the spot demands, chiding Obama for failing to visit Israel during his first term and for "refusing'' to recognize Jerusalem as the capital. Romney should have touted his own recent trip to Israel -- though it was light on policy details -- and stopped there, But instead, he put money behind advertising that implies something sinister behind Obama's policies, even though plenty of news outlets cried foul when he first started raising these issues.

Former Republican Presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan never visited Israel during their presidencies, and George W. Bush didn't go until the last year of his second term. And like his Democratic and Republican predecessors, Obama has described Jerusalem as the capital but signed waivers putting off moving the U.S. embassy because it would inflame the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Romney's campaign clearly knows these facts but can't be bothered with a more nuanced and honest criticism of the administration's failure to broker peace in the Middle East. That's a shame.

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