Mitt Romney’s much-ballyhooed overseas trip to Great Britain has so far been an unmitigated success – for the Obama campaign. It’s been one screw-up after another, all of which should give Americans pause as to whether Romney is up to the job of representing the United States to the world.
Screw-up #1: As we’ve already noted, Romney was barely off the plane before offensive quotes from an unnamed Romney advisor questioned President Obama’s ability to connect with America and Great Britain’s shared “Anglo-Saxon heritage.” Romney has tried to disavow the comments, but has done nothing to identify or remove the person who made the comments, so it’s hard to think that he takes the matter very seriously.
Screw-up #2: This was a really dumb move. Shortly after arriving in London, Romney caused an “international stir” by publicly voicing doubts about whether London’s preparations for the Olympics were adequate. He said, in an interview with NBC, that some of the problems were “disconcerting,” and he questioned whether the British people would “come together and celebrate the Olympic moment.” In response, British Prime Minister David Cameron pushed back, expressing confidence that the Games would come off splendidly, and hilariously observing that “of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.” The whole debacle led a British newspaper columnist to comment that “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.”
Screw-up #3: If further proof were needed that Romney is a genuine rookie when it comes to foreign affairs, he provided it today. A Guardian reporter tweets:
And another Mitt Romney blunder: confirmed outside No 10 he met head of MI6. Aspiring US presidents not meant to say that
The Guardian elaborates:
For our American readership, this isn’t like bragging you just met David Petraeus. The British take on the national secret intelligence service comes with an extra-heavy dollop of the whole secret thing. The very existence of the MI6 was not officially acknowledged until 1994.
Romney should have known that. He should have been briefed about that kind of thing. Obviously he didn’t, and he wasn’t.
He’s also scheduled to hold fundraisers with British bankers, most of whom are neck-deep in the LIBOR rate-fixing scandal. So that should go well – stay tuned for additional screw-ups!