Resume builder, my ass

Could reporters who cover presidential candidates please stop assuming that a quick trip overseas is tantamount to substantive experience?

Well, how about it?!?

Exhibit A is today's Globe story on Mitt Romney's four-day (!) trip to Israel. According to the article, Romney's visit

serves two important political objectives: It further deepens his foreign policy resume and helps him strengthen ties to American Jews, a group of voters and donors the GOP believes is increasingly integral to the party. [emphasis added]
I'll certainly buy the latter. (BTW, readers interested in Romney's overtures to the Jewish electorate should check out this story by my colleague David Bernstein.) But why, exactly, should Romney be able to cite a brief, carefully scripted visit as some kind of accomplishment? And no, I'm not just picking on Mitt here. (Democrat John Edwards, for example, has been doing a lot of sightseeing himself in an effort to avoid being seen as a foreign-policy lightweight.)

Here's a suggestion: rather than assuming that a particular trip beefs up a given candidate's resume, reporters should note that that's the intention. Then they should push the candidate to explain what new knowledge or perspective the trip in question actually provided. If the candidate gives a credible answer, tell readers/viewers/listeners what it is; if not, point that out instead.

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