An apology by President Obama during a Middle East tour is the “biggest whopper” repeated by Mitt Romney’s campaign, according to the president. Romney began using the phrase in 2010 and bought TV ads to promote it, despite wide criticism.
Independent fact-checking groups, including PolitiFact and FactCheck, that have examined Obama’s speeches on his visits to the region haven’t found them to be especially critical of American actions, and found them generally consistent with statements of past presidents.
Obama has expressed regret on some occasions for actions of some troops, such as the destruction of Korans in Afghanistan, and abuse of prisoners in Iraq.
Obama described Romney’s phrase as “the biggest whopper” during the third and final presidential debate before the November election.
The 30-second spot begins with Romney’s voice from the final debate: “The president began with an apology tour going to various nations and criticizing America. I think they looked at that and saw weakness.”
The Romney campaign did not released the size of the ad buy or where it will air.
The ad titled “Apology Tour” continues with a clip of Romney, seated at the debate roundtable in Boca Raton, Florida, directing his remarks at Obama.
“The reason I call it an apology tour, you went to the Middle East and to Saudi Arabia and to Turkey and Iraq. You skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region. You said that America had dictated to other nations,” he said.
The ad concludes with Romney saying: “Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations. We have freed other nations from dictators.”
During Florida’s debate Obama responded pointedly to his opponent’s attack, contrasting his visit to Israel as a candidate and then-Illinois Senator in 2008 to Romney’s foreign tour earlier this summer.
“When I went to Israel as a candidate, I didn’t take donors. I didn’t attend fundraisers. I went to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum there, to remind myself the nature of evil and why our bond with Israel will be unbreakable,” said Obama, also touting his funding of the Israeli Iron Dome missile defense program.