Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney slammed the start of the Democratic National Convention in an interview on Wednesday, referring to the Charlotte proceedings as a "celebration of failure" and going after Democrats for removing the word "God" and reference to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel from their platform language.
"I think their having removed purposefully God from their platform suggests a party which is increasingly out of touch with the mainstream of American people," Romney said in an interview with Fox News. "I think this party is veering further and further away into an extreme wing that Americans don’t recognize.”
Democrats were quickly criticized for the platform changes. And on Wednesday, the party reinserted the language back into the platform with a voice vote. Although delegates shouting opposition were just as loud, perhaps louder, than those who expressed their support, the revision was approved after three voice votes.
A senior Obama administration official told The Huffington Post that President Barack Obama personally intervened to strengthen the language. But Romney nevertheless seized on the Jerusalem issue, calling it an example of the president "throwing Israel under the bus."
"When the president ran in 2008 he said that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel. That was his posture at that point, that’s also been the posture in the Democratic platform," Romney said. "The president and his party have now changed their position. They now say that they are not certain what the capital of Israel might be. I find that one more example of Israel being thrown under the bus by the president."
Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul also pounced on the issue, putting out a statement reaffirming the Republican presidential nominee's belief that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, while labeling Democrats' stance on the same point "a begrudging recognition."
During the interview, Romney also rebuked criticism he has faced for being the first GOP presidential candidate in 60 years not to mention war during his address to the Republican National Convention last week.
"I actually went to the American Legion the day before my speech -- both the president and I were invited," Romney shot back. "I actually left the convention, went to the American Legion and there talked about the troops, talked about the commitment to the military and talked about the commitment to the veterans."
"I had an opportunity to speak at great length about the sacrifice of our troops," he continued, adding that in his convention speech he stated his commitment not to shrink the U.S. military.
The president's foreign policy record has been touted as one of his strongest suits, and the vast majority of Democratic convention speakers thus far have showered praise on Obama for ending the war in Iraq and killing Osama bin Laden. But in his interview, Romney kept the focus on the economy and said while the Obama campaign might put out words that are "delightful, delicious and diversionary … they cannot paper over the record of the last four years."
"You know no one in the convention so far has had the temerity to say that people are better off in America because they realize that’s not the case," Romney said. "The convention so far is a celebration of failure."
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