Soledad O'Brien Omits Key Romney Quote While Accusing Him of Hypocrisy

Soledad O'Brien is bungling facts, again! The CNN anchor omitted a key portion of Mitt Romney's remarks back in May as she tried to convict him of hypocrisy with his own words on Monday. Conservative blog The Right Scoop reported earlier on this.

Just hours before Romney's key address on foreign policy, O'Brien reported, "So here's what we know he is going to say in his speech this – later today. He's going to say 'Finally I will recommit America to the goal of the democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel.' And as you well know, this is very contradictory to what we know he was saying in that tape that was leaked," she hammered his adviser Tara Wall.

So after Romney promised to pursue peace between Israel and Palestine, O'Brien pulled two clips of him speaking at a fund raiser back in May, expressing despair over any hopes of peace. Here are Romney's quotes:

"I'm torn by two perspectives in this regard. One is the one which I've had for some time which is that the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace and that the -- and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish."

"I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel and these thorny issues and I say there's just no way. And so what you do is you say, you move things along the best way you can. You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem."

Then O'Brien thought she nailed Romney for being "completely contradictory" per Monday's prepared remarks, before asking "Which one is true?"

First, what she omitted is patently obvious – Romney said he was "torn by two perspectives," meaning that he did reserve hope for peace. Here is a key quote from that fund raiser that O'Brien could have included, but didn't [bold emphasis mine]:

"I have to tell ya, the idea of pushing on the Israelis?—to give something up, to get the Palestinians to act, is the worst idea in the world. We have done that time and time and time again. It does not work. So, the only answer is show your strength. Again, American strength, American resolve, as the Palestinians someday reach the point where they want peace more than we're trying to push peace on them—and then it's worth having the discussion."

So Romney clearly has the desire to pursue peace between Israel and Palestine, but it's up to Palestine to "reach the point" and wish for it themselves, rather than the U.S. force peace upon both nations. O'Brien's report made it seem that Romney despaired of peace back in May but promised to pursue it in Monday's speech, which is not fully accurate.

Here a transcript of the segment that aired on Starting Point, on October 8 at 7:09 a.m. EDT:

[7:09]

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: So let's take a look at peace in the Middle East and the -- obviously dispute between Israel and the Palestinian territory. So here's what we know he is going to say in his speech this – later today. He's going to say "Finally I will recommit America to the goal of the democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel." And as you well know, this is very contradictory to what we know he was saying in that tape that was leaked, the 47 percent tape that they talk about. So let me play you a little bit of what he said about this very issue, the peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Listen.

(Video Clip)

MITT ROMNEY, Republican presidential candidate: I'm torn by two perspectives in this regard. One is the one which I've had for some time which is that the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the -- and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish.

(End Video Clip)

O'BRIEN: And I'm going to play another chunk of it a little bit later on in that same speech, the one that was recorded surreptitiously, let's play that.

(Video Clip)

ROMNEY: I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel and these thorny issues and I say there's just no way. And so what you do is you say, you move things along the best way you can. You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem.

(End Video Clip)

O'BRIEN: Okay. So as you know and you just heard, that's completely contradictory to what I read you the first time around. "I will recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state, living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel." Those are completely contradictory. Which one is true?

WALL: The fact is, it's the President who's failed in the negotiation process. He is the leader, right now, of this country and he has failed –

O'BRIEN: And Tara, that was an excellent shift, but answer for me about Governor Romney. We can talk about the President in a minute.

WALL: That is my answer. Well, no, that is my answer, Soledad. I mean, the answer is –

O'BRIEN: Your answer is about President Obama? A (Inaudible) about Governor Romney is an answer about President Obama?

WALL: I think the governor has made his position clear, relative to where we stand with Israel. And the President is the one that has failed –

O'BRIEN: He hasn't, is my point. He hasn't.

WALL: – that decided to meet with entertainment folks and people like that, rather than Benjamin Netanyahu and I think that there -- again, there's a clear position here –

O'BRIEN: It's not. That's my point. It's not clear. My point, Tara – hold on. Hold on. Hold on. Just hold on. My point is, it's completely contradictory. So my question is, which is it?

WALL: In your viewpoint.

O'BRIEN: And answer to me – well, okay, then tell me how it's not completely contradictory, in your viewpoint, but don't talk to me about President Obama at this moment. Answer the question about Governor Romney in two things –  

WALL: We will stand side by side with -- we will stand side by side with Israel, and the governor has made that clear. I'm not going to get into a big foreign policy debate with you here. That's not – that's not – that's not my position. That's not my role. And that's – you know – if you want to talk about that, I suggest you put on a couple of foreign affairs experts and let them go at it and pick this apart the way that you'd like to have it picked apart. But I think we clearly stated what our position is –

O'BRIEN: That's unfair. I'm just asking you about a contradictory message. That's unfair. I'm only asking you about a contradictory message.

WALL: Well that's contradictory in your view. That's contradictory in your view, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Well, you could explain it then. Alright, Tara Wall, thank you for talking with us this morning.

WALL: Not if I don't agree with the premise.

O'BRIEN: Or you could explain that even, I would take. But apparently we're not going to get to that either. Thank you for talking to us this morning, we appreciate it.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014