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In Monday night’s debate, Rick Perry made the claim that Turkey was “ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists.” Just as bafflingly, people from as far and wide as actual Turkey and D.C. have taken time out of their busy days Tuesday to condemn Perry’s par-for-the-course proclamation. But he’s been to Turkey, for god’s sake. He lived there. Have you?

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry responded to the claims by saying that Perry’s comments are “baseless and inappropriate” and that Turkey would not be wasting (but here it is wasting) its time on political candidates “who do not even know their allies.” The statement also dissed Perry’s low poll standings and added, “Figures who are candidates for positions that require responsibility, such as the U.S. presidency, should be more knowledgeable about the world and exert more care with their statement.”

Meantime, Perry’s camp is cavalierly maintaining that what Perry said last night holds true today, more or less. Defends his foreign policy adviser Victoria Coates:

The governor was responding to the questioners references to violence against women and to association with Hamas, I think both of which are things that many people do associate as he said with Islamic terrorists…He was referring to those things, and while he would welcome the opportunity to work with Turkey on regional issues like Syria or Iraq, this kind of behavior on the part of that country is disturbing and I think we should concerned about it.

Perry! So protective of women! Even ones that are barely women yet!

Well, this is a fun distraction for Perry, who really should have dropped out a week or maybe a month ago. A new PPP poll released Tuesday shows that he doesn’t even have the most support of the candidates in his home state of Texas (he’s third behind Romney and Gingrich). Also, a large 39 percent of respondents in that poll actually think the governor is hurting the image of the state. A pretty remarkable feat.

The Turkish ambassador to the U.S., Namik Tan, appears to actually, in the end, feel kind of bad for the guy. “While it was unfortunate,” he said at the end of his statement, “we do hope this episode in last night’s debate leads to a better informed foreign policy discussion among the Republican Party candidates, one where long-standing allies are treated with respect not disdain.”


Ignorance as a stepping stone to wisdom…a classic tenet of Republican philosophy.

We’ll leave the last word with the Turkish-American Council:

How can we expect to have friends in the international world if our leaders show this level of ignorance and narrow mindedness in trying to score political points?

But the lasting image is of Mitt Romney, undoubtedly smiling and looking down at his notepad of doodles while Perry driveled on. One man’s gaffe is another man’s pina colada by the pool/presidential nomination. [USA Today/Talking Points Memo]

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