Mitt Romney cited Hezbollah’s social network as a model for U.S. diplomacy.
The former Massachusetts governor, a front-runner in the race for the Republican presidential candidacy, was asked during a campaign stop in Iowa over the weekend whether he would renew President Bush’s $50 million campaign to combat AIDS in Africa.
Romney said he would, and would use American know-how to advance U.S. interests.
“Did you notice in Lebanon what Hezbollah did?” he said in remarks broadcast on C-Span and captured by Crooks and Liars, a liberal Web site. “Lebanon became a democracy some time ago and while their government was getting under way, Hezbollah went into southern Lebanon and provided health clinics to some of the people there, and schools. And they built their support there by having done so. That kind of diplomacy is something that would help America become stronger around the world and help people understand that our interest is an interest towards modernity and goodness and freedom for all people in the world. And so, I want to see America carry out that kind of health diplomacy.”
Israel says Hezbollah used its social activism as a cover to blanket south Lebanon with arms, helping to precipitate last summer’s war.