In the past week, the capital of Israel has entered mainstream U.S. political discussion twice. The first event started at a White House press conference when spokesperson Jay Carney refused to answer a simple question; "What does this administration consider to be the capital of Israel, Jerusalem or Tel Aviv?"


On Sunday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney traveled to Israel to make sure the whole world knew what he believed to be the capital of Israel. Although Romney's statement is likely linked to Carney's waffling, it has deeper implications. Despite decades of Israel claiming that Jerusalem is its capital, the U.S. embassy is based in Tel Aviv (a favored capitol location for many Palestinians).

The geographical debate is unlikely to sway many opinions at home or abroad, but the episode is a good example of how a simple flip, flop, or foible in this head-to-head election cycle can explode into an international event . . .  at least until the 24-hour news cycle forgets all about it.