International Man of Mitt-stery

PHOTO: ABCs David Muir interviews presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Israel.ABC News
ABC's David Muir interviews presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Israel.

Mitt Romney got many of the headlines he wanted out of his trip to Israel this weekend: "Romney Backs Israeli Stance on Threat of Nuclear Iran," wrote The New York Times; Politico weighed in: "Mitt Romney: No more 'diplomatic distance' from Israel"; and the Wall Street Journal noted, "Romney Talks Tough."

But the Republican presidential candidate also got some he didn't: "Romney Campaign Muddles Iran Stand," according to BuzzFeed; National Public Radio put it this way: "Romney Camp Comments On Israeli Action In Iran, Then Clarifies"; and from Bloomberg News: "Romney Opens Fundraiser in Israel to Media After Outcry."

From his apparent insult of London Olympics organizers to his clarification of an adviser's comment on the fraught issue of a military strike against Iran, Romney's been learning a lesson about the perils of international communication.

After Romney foreign policy aide Dan Senor noted that "if Israel has to take action on its own, in order to stop Iran from developing [nuclear] capability the governor would respect that decision," ABC's David Muir sought, in a one-on-one interview with Romney, to decipher exactly where Romney stands on the question.

"I recognize the right of Israel to defend itself," Romney told Muir yesterday in Jerusalem. "At the same time we are two nations, both committed to employing every means we have to keep Iran from pursuing their nuclear folly and that means every diplomatic course, economic forces as well, sanctions are beginning to have a greater impact on Iran we want to execute all of these elements of soft power if you will but of course we maintain all options. If all of our political and economic options fail we of course retain military options as well."

And, in an interview with CBS News, Romney added: "Because I'm on foreign soil, I don't want to be creating new foreign policy for my country or in any way to distance myself from the foreign policy of our nation."

When it came to one of the issues that had been dominating the election-year debate before he left for his trip abroad — whether he would release additional years of tax returns — Romney was also keeping his cards close to the vest.

As ABC's Emily Friedman notes, Romney could not say today whether he had ever paid a tax rate lower than 13.9 percent, saying he would have to "go back and check." "I haven't calculated that," Romney told Muir. "I'm happy to go back and look, but my view is I've paid all the taxes required by law."

"From time to time I've been audited as it happens, I think, to other citizens as well, and the accounting firm which prepares my taxes has done a very thorough and complete job pay taxes as legally due," Romney added. "I don't pay more than are legally due."

More tax questions likely await the GOP candidate when he returns stateside, but with Romney on the final leg of his trip, Democrats are reveling in Romney's missteps while overseas.

One top Democratic official told The Note: "We're going to start the week by tying a bow on Romney's foreign trip where he proved to be an embarrassment and not at all prepared to be commander-in-chief."

WATCH ABC's David Muir interview Mitt Romney yesterday in Jerusalem HERE

TRANSCRIPT of the interview HERE