NYT Quotes 'Retired Cuban Leader' Castro on 'Idiocy' of GOP Field, 'Had Reason to Be Annoyed'

Who cares what an unelected dictator thinks about the U.S. presidential campaign? Well, New York Times reporters do. Michael Shear and Trip Gabriel were in Miami following the campaign in the runup to next Tuesday's Florida primary and quoted Fidel Castro in Thursday's 'Candidates Scramble to Win Hispanic Voters in Florida.'

They even suggested the dictator (who they merely called 'the retired Cuban leader') 'had reason to be annoyed' at threats voiced by Republican candidates Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

After noting that Cuban-Americans were 'a force in South Florida's Republican politics,' Shear and Gabriel quoted the Cuban dictator, and described his 50-plus-year dictatorship in the blandest possible terms:

As the Republicans appealed for votes among Cuban-Americans and other Hispanics, one person who said he was not enamored of the field expressed his distaste: Fidel Castro, the retired Cuban leader whose 1959 takeover prompted the exodus of Cubans to South Florida.

'The selection of a Republican candidate for the presidency of this globalized and expansive empire is - and I mean this seriously - the greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance that has ever been,' he wrote in an opinion piece in state-owned news media.

He had reason to be annoyed. In Monday's debate, Mr. Gingrich said he would authorize covert actions to bring down the Cuban government, while Mr. Romney cited the Jan. 19 death of a Cuban prisoner, Wilman Villar Mendoza, in calling for maintaining a tough policy toward Cuba. The candidates also discussed whether the 85-year-old leader would go to heaven or hell.

- Clay Waters is editor of the MRC's TimesWatch site.