What do they say about first impressions?
Mitt Romney is off to a bad start in his international presidential candidate tour. The good news is the Brits can’t vote in November. The bad news this gaffe has gone global.
From the UK Sun
Mitt the twit
Wannabe US President Romney in Games insult, but David Cameron insists: We’ll show you
WANNABE president Mitt Romney infuriated Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday by making a string of embarrassing blunders.
The US election hopeful, on a visit to London, questioned whether the Olympics will be a success.
Mr Romney said in a TV interview: “It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out. There are a few things that were disconcerting.”
The Republican candidate, who organised the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, also questioned whether the British people will “come together and celebrate” the Olympics.
There was further embarrassment when Mr Romney said he had looked out of “the backside of Number 10” to see the beach volleyball court.
He breached diplomatic protocol by revealing he had been briefed by MI6 chief Sir John Sawers, then appeared to forget Labour leader Ed Miliband’s name, calling him “Mr Leader” instead.
Mr Cameron later slapped down the Massachusetts governor. Visiting the Olympic Park on the eve of the opening ceremony, the PM insisted the GaHe said: “We’ll show the world we’ve not only come together as a United Kingdom, but are extremely good at welcoming people from across the world.
“You will see Britain can deliver.”
In a clear swipe at Mr Romney, he added: “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities in the world. Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.”
London organising committee chairman Lord Coe said a staggering THREE MILLION people have turned out to see the torch relay in the capital alone.
He added: “No stone has been left unturned — whether it be the village, the training facilities, the venues.”
London mayor Boris Johnson publicly ridiculed Mr Romney. Addressing the crowd at an Olympic concert in Hyde Park, Mr Johnson said: “There’s a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know if we’re ready. Are we ready?”
The 60,000-strong audience responded with a deafening cry of “Yes we are!”
Team GB chairman Colin Moynihan urged Olympic chiefs to axe the controversial Games Lanes reserved for Olympic vehicles, branding them “a waste of time”.
He revealed he was using the Tube to reach the Olympic Park, saying: “It’s the quickest way to get here.”
From “the Telegraph”
Commentary: if Mitt Romney doesn’t like us, we shouldn’t care
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.
His derisory comments questioning Britain’s preparedness for the Olympics in an interview with NBC were a strange way to build bridges with a country that he says should be restored as the umbilical ally of the United States, and a strange way to demonstrate the persuasive qualities needed as leader of the free world.
Mr Romney is the scion of Liverpudlians who sought and found fortune and the freedom to practice the Mormon faith (eventually) across the pond. His wife Ann has Welsh pedigree.
The Republican candidate supposedly values these connections so highly that foreign policy advisors told the Daily Telegraph that a Romney presidency would restore the “Anglo-Saxon” dimension of the transatlantic alliance.
But his comments to NBC, particularly his doubts about Britons’ ability to celebrate the games, showed how poorly he understands the land of his forefathers.
If he possessed a smidgeon of insight into the British psyche he would have known that despite all the pre-match whingeing and the carping, that on the night we will celebrate the games with all the gusto and fervour they deserve. We moan, and then we smile; that is just our way And to even a casual student of British public life, it was obvious both that immigration officers would call off their strike at the eleventh hour and that thousands of part-time labourers wouldn’t be bothered to show up to work for G4S, the security firm.
I have listened to Mitt Romney’s stump speech countless times. A standard refrain is to run down Europe – not a hard case to make at the moment – and that includes us.
Not once have I heard him praise Britain or extol the special relationship he now belatedly trumpets. He even reprised his dislike of the NHS shortly before leaving for these shores of benighted, yellow-toothed natives who spend half their lives waiting in hospital, having tried as governor of Massachusetts to ensure that everyone in his state, as in Britain, had access to health care.
His current pledge to “revive” ties between the US and Britain sounds suspiciously like a talking point drummed up in a policy meeting and designed to differentiate himself from President Barack Obama for domestic purposes.
Yet there isn’t much currently wrong with the transatlantic alliance, as last summer’s exultant state visit by Obama showed.
It is true the president is less enamoured of traditional allies than his predecessors, but that reflects as much his exotic background and upbringing than his country’s changing interests. There have been plenty of bumps and kinks in relations before.
Romney is a pragmatist and a businessman above all else. As president he would put American interests first, as has the man he is trying to beat in November. Britain might not feel so special then.
From “The Guardian”
Mitt Romney’s Olympics blunder stuns No 10 and hands gift to Obama
Republican candidate backtracks on warning of ‘disconcerting’ signs for Games after rebukes by British PM and London mayor
From the “UK Times”
Carl Lewis, one of the greatest Olympians, today hit out at Mitt Romney over his gaffe about London’s preparations for the Games. The winner of nine Olympic golds said that “seriously, some Americans just…
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