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Mitt Romney told Fox News on Tuesday that he was not taking a swipe at Palestinian culture when he suggested that Israel’s economic success was due to its "culture" at a fundraiser in Israel on Monday.
"I’m not speaking about, did not speak about, the Palestinian culture," Romney told Fox’s Carl Cameron.
The presumptive GOP nominee came under fire from Palestinian leaders when he compared the GDP per capita in Israel to that in areas controlled by the Palestinian authority, saying at one point, "Culture makes all the difference." Although he never specifically implicated Palestinian culture, he seemed to imply judgment, CBS News notes.
Palestinian leaders were quick to respond to Romney’s comments. "The statement reflects a clear racist spirit," the Palestine's labor minister told the Associated Press on Monday.
Romney, however, did his best to shrug off the criticism of his recent missteps during his week-long overseas tour, and instead blamed the press, CNN reports. "They’ll instead try and find anything else to divert from the fact that these last four years have been tough years for our country," the Republican said.