Jul 27, 2012.
What is Mitt thinking? Is he trying to hand the election to Obama? He went on a trip meant to build his foreign policy cred and spent the first two days stepping in Brit-pile after Brit-pile. Even his Olympic-quality triple somi backflip-flop couldn't save him.
It began with the "disconcerting" line.
Mitt Romney, kicking off his first foreign tour, hoping to show folks what a great leader he would be, gives a major interview to NBC in London where he says: "there are a few things that were disconcerting" about the London Olympic Games, starting Friday. "Private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging."
OK, we know Mitt has experience running an Olympics of his own, back in Salt Lake City in 2002, but, really? He said that? On TV?
Yes! And he didn't stop there!
In case bashing the handling of the games wasn't enough, he made sure to thumb his nose at the British people as well.
Londoners have been, understandably, moaning and groaning about Olympics-related traffic tie-ups, crowds and other inconveniences involved when a gazillion tourists from all over the planet crowd into your city for a massively expensive and heavily guarded event. It's sort of like hosting the Super Bowl -- if it were being played simultaneously in five or six stadiums around town, and lasted two weeks.
Forget that, Romney suggested. It's time to put on a happy face.
"Do they come together and celebrate the Olympic moment? And that's something which we only find out once the games actually begin," he said.
Does he realize we can hear him?
The reactions, well ...
British Prime Minister David Cameron responded (a bit stiffly, but that may just be the British thing) that doubters like Romney, "going to see beyond doubt that Britain can deliver."
And, in what was taken as a jab at Salt Lake City -- but which Cameron's office quickly said was not meant to be – he said British "people have to be prepared for some difficulties" during the Olympics because they are being held in an already large and crowded city.
"We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world," said the British prime minister. "Of course it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere."
That was about the nicest reaction Mitt got, even after he tried to reverse himself (his first flip- flop on foreign soil). After meeting with Cameron, Romney told reporters, "I'm very delighted with the prospects of a highly successful Olympic Games."
Too late. The British press is hardly known for pulling punches. They didn't.
"Mitt the Twit," was the headline in Britain's biggest-selling paper, The Sun.
The Telegraph ran a commentary piece under the headline "Romney doesn't like us? We shouldn't care."
The subhed summed up what every political strategist, pundit and campaign observer in the U.S. must now be thinking:
"Mitt Romney is perhaps the only politician who could start a trip that was supposed to be a charm offensive by being utterly devoid of charm and mildly offensive."
The Guardian ran Romney's comment under the headline "Mitt Romney's Olympics blunder stuns No 10 and hands gift to Obama." It quoted a senior British official, who said, "What a total shocker. We are speechless."
And don't think it's just the press. London's Mayor jabbed at Romney and got a rousing response from the 80,000-strong crowd at a pre-opening ceremony rally when he said, "I hear there's a guy, there's a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we're ready -- he wants to know whether we're ready. Are we ready? Are we ready? Yes we are!"
Nice going, Mitt.
Obama can hardly wait to see what you say in Israel.
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