(Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images)
Four years ago, while Barack Obama was campaigning to become president, he took a short international jaunt to a few countries in the Middle East and Europe and it was regarded as nothing short of groundbreaking.
Romney launched his international tour in the now-former Olympic host city, and within hours the presidential hopeful managed to ostracize and offend both the government and public of one of the closest allies to the U.S.
"Our head is with Romney, but our heart is with Obama," a senior U.K. cabinet minister told the Huffington Post after Romney questioned Prime Minister David Cameron about whether London was truly prepared for the games.
However, in light of gaffes and burned bridges, and also in spite of Romney’s frequent protestations about his Mormon faith, U.K. Mormon officials have decided to distance themselves from the politician. To drive the point home, the church hired a D.C. public relations firm to help solidify the distance.
"Despite the church's political neutrality they recognize the church will increasingly become a topic of conversation in the run up to November," a representative said in statement according to the Telegraph. "The church takes its political neutrality very seriously."
A spokesman from the public relations firm retained by the church said that "with such a high-profile person" focusing more attention on Mormonism, church leaders now "just want to make sure they're understood correctly…because the church gets mentioned often when the presidential candidate gets mentioned, they just want to make sure people know who they are and what they are doing."
The church’s distance is particularly ironic given Romney’s long family history within the U.K. Mormon faction. The BBC did some digging and learned that Romney’s great-great-grandfather was one of the first Britons to adopt the Mormon faith 175 years ago, before settling in Utah.
The BBC report didn’t interview Romney directly or say whether he was aware of the depth of his lineage in the U.K. Mormon church, but now that the cat’s out of the bag, the snub couldn’t feel good.
However, regardless of who backs away from Romney, its clear that his GOP contemporaries still have his back.
"We're not worried about overseas headlines. We're worried about voters back here at home in America," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal told reporters after Romney’s first gaffe in London.
Unfortunately, Jindal’s confident comment was a bit misinformed as the negative press Romney received while abroad translated into negative news back at home.
According to data from the Media Research Center, 86 percent of the U.S. news stories about Romney’s trip emphasized his inability to win over foreign allies.
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