Lisa Schiffren is mad as hell:
Did Mitt Romney really say that the U.S. should emulate Hezbollah in using medical clinics and other health care goodies as part of a diplomatic outreach in the Third World, as World Net Daily is reporting? Did he really cite Hezbollah's welfare programs in South Lebanon as a model for U.S. aid to poor nations — what we should do to promote "freedom"? Tell me he did not.
Romney's precisely correct. Obviously, the United States government shouldn't become "like Hezbollah" but it's obvious that one way Hezbollah and Hamas have gained a lot of support is by providing helpful services to people in need. If the U.S. wants to do effective political outreach -- or wants to help democratic forces strengthen their own positions in Muslim-majority countries -- that's going to require people to roll up their sleeves and do some of that kind of work themselves. I know Francis Fukuyama says some smart things about this in his book, but I can't find anything by him on this online.