Mitt Romney's three-nation "listen and learn" tour has started out to be somewhat of a disaster. The purpose of the trip was to make an impression on the national stage, and that he's done—just not in the way he'd hoped. After making some remarkable gaffes in London on day one, the headlines are screaming things like Mitt the Twitt and Who Invited Party Pooper Mitt Romney?
It all began during an interview with NBC's Brian Williams, when the Republican presidential candidate suggested that London might not be ready to host the Olympics, calling some logistical problems that had occurred in the past few weeks "disconcerting."
"We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course, it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere," said British Prime Minister David Cameron, referring to Romney's stewardship of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Current Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker apparently didn't appreciate the prime minister's acerbic remark and his office pushed back in a statement.
"While those of us who have had the fortune of visiting London know it is certainly a wonderful city, Prime Minister Cameron’s comments likely reflect his lack of familiarity with Salt Lake City," said spokesman Art Raymond. "We’d welcome the opportunity to share all that we enjoy here with the PM, including a great number of assets that you’d be hard-pressed to find in London."
London Mayor Boris Johnson also chimed in and used Romney's criticisms to fire up tens of thousands of Olympics fans in Hyde Park Thursday night. "There's a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know if we are ready," Johnson cried. "Are we ready? Yes we are!"
Romney later walked back on his remarks, saying, “Of course there will be errors from time to time, but those are all overshadowed by the extraordinary demonstrations of courage, character and determination by the athlete. And as soon as the sporting events begin, we all forget the organizers and focus on the athletes.”
Unfortunately that wasn't Romney's only foot-in-mouth moment. During a meeting with Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband, he appeared to forget his name and called him "Mr. Leader," which isn't protocol. More importantly, he disclosed the fact that he'd had a meeting with the chief of MI6, Britian's notoriously secretive Secret Intelligence Service, whose existence wasn't even officially acknowledged until 1994.
A day filled with missteps caused pundits to speculate whether Team Romney reached out to former President George W. Bush's advisors for guidance on protocol as then-candidate Barack Obama did in 2008 with advisors to former President Bill Clinton. It also drew the inevitable comparisons to the crowds of tens of thousands who gathered to hear Obama speak during his European tour.
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(Photo: Courtesy of The Sun)