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CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 31: U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) motivates a crowd waiting to hear U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speak during the President CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 31: U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) motivates a crowd waiting to hear U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speak during the President's 'Moving America Forward' rally October 31, 2010 at Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by J.D. Pooley/Getty Images)  

Report says Kucinich praised Syrian dictator, congressman says statement ‘mischaracterized’

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Jamie Weinstein
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      Jamie Weinstein

      Jamie Weinstein is Senior Editor of The Daily Caller. His work has appeared in The Weekly Standard, the New York Daily News and The Washington Examiner, among many other publications. He also worked as the Collegiate Network Journalism Fellow at Roll Call Newspaper and is the winner of the 2011 "Funniest Celebrity in Washington" contest. A regular on Fox News and other cable news outlets, Weinstein received a master’s degree in the history of international relations from the London School of Economics in 2009 and a bachelor's degree in history and government from Cornell University in 2006. He is the author of the political satire, "The Lizard King: The Shocking Inside Account of Obama's True Intergalactic Ambitions by an Anonymous White House Staffer."

Kucinich’s full statement:

Today, the Syrian Arab News Agency published an article that contained a number of mistranslations and mischaracterized statements that I made during a news conference in Damascus.

While on fact-finding mission in Syria, I was asked to share my initial reactions with some journalists, which I did. During my remarks I stressed the importance of the government paying attention to the democratic aspirations of the people of Syria. It is up to the people of Syria to decide the future of their government. There is a process of national dialogue beginning and this process is important. It is important that the Assad government listen carefully to the just demands and act positively to fulfill the democratic aspirations of the people of Syria. The process of national dialogue which has now begun is a step in the direction of identifying necessary reforms.

I did not come to Syria with my mind made up. After discussions with people at many different levels of society, I am convinced of the need for honesty, fairness and dialogue.

A story written about my remarks by the Syrian Arab News Agency unfortunately mistranslated several of my statements and did not reflect my direct quotes. Arab-speaking friends accompanying me have explained that the problem may have come from a mistranslation as well as the degree of appreciation and affection their state-sponsored media has for President Assad.

It is unfortunate that translation errors can create such problems. Given the stakes for Syria and the region, I will consider the article only an error, not a willful intent to mischaracterize my statements or my efforts in the region.

I intend to continue my efforts to determine as best I can exactly what is happening in Syria, ever more mindful of the maxim, “lost in translation.”