Mitt Romney's remarks that 47 percent of Americans are "dependent on government" and would vote for President Barack Obama, from a secretly taped speech at a fundraiser in May, have prompted numerous public responses from the Republican nominee and his campaign.
But on Tuesday evening, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan offered the campaign's first defense of another jarring moment in the video: when Romney said that Palestinians "have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace" in the Middle East, and suggested he would not press for a two-state solution.
"That's a statement of the status quo," Ryan said, during an interview with the Boston-based channel NECN.
"Part of the Palestinian government is Hamas, which is a group that is dedicated toward wiping Israel off the map. They do not recognize Israel's right to exist. Pretty hard to get to a two-state solution when part of the Palestinian coalition is Hamas, which does not acknowledge Israel's right to exist. So all he's doing is simply acknowledging the problem with the status quo."
Ryan also said, in apparent contradiction to Romney's remarks, "We clearly want peace in the Middle East, we believe in the two-state solution, but that also means the entire Palestinian government has to be willing to acknowledge Israel's right to exist."
When he spoke back in May, Romney did not distinguish between various Palestinian factions when he said that they did not want "to see peace" and are "committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel."
Romney also went further in his remarks, saying that given the various obstacles to the peace process, there was no reason to take any proactive steps to try to resolve them.
"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," Romney said.
Many former peace negotiators agree that the process has been stalled for years, but they insist that without at least the semblance of a process -- and a sense that the U.S. could still help barter a deal -- the situation would become much worse.
Watch the full Ryan interview here.
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