Mitt Romney is off to a spectacularly bad start in London, at least according to the British press ridiculing the Republican candidate on his first major foreign trip.
British officials — and the newspapers that cover them — took offense to Romney questioning whether London is well-prepared to handle the security issues ahead of the summer games. Romney called the situation “disconcerting.” British Prime Minister David Cameron hit back, saying there is no doubt “Britain can deliver.”
“We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world,” Cameron added. “Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.”
Then there was the issue of whether Romney forgot Labour leader Ed Miliband’s name, referring to him as “Mr. Leader.” All in all, “not a great day at the office,” Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun tabloid wrote.
Here’s how Romney’s visit to London played in the UK press.
- The Financial Times played it relatively straight, writing: “Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican candidate for the US presidency, got off to a shaky start in his effort to show a statesmanlike profile when he seemed to get into a public spat with the UK prime minister over London’s readiness to host the Olympics.”
- Guardian Web News Editor Jonathan Haynes tweeted:
Mitt Romney has questioned whether Britain is ready for Olympic Games?! Damnit Mitt! That’s the job of the British!— Jonathan Haynes (@JonathanHaynes) July 26, 2012
- In fact, The Guardian has an entire live blog devoted to Britons rebuking Romney’s visit.
- The Times of London’s home page led with the following headline:
- Times of London columnist Janice Turner tweeted:
So Mitt Romney disses our Olympics. We’re the Special Relationship, the easypeasy bit of US foreign relations. How will he deal with China?— Janice Turner (@VictoriaPeckham) July 26, 2012
- The Independent wondered whether Romney forgot Ed Miliband’s name during their meeting, writing that it followed his earlier “gaffe” of questioning the Olympic preparedness.
- Watch the video of Romney meeting “Mr. Leader”:
- In an op-ed, the Telegraph’s Alex Spillius wrote: “[I]f Mitt Romney doesn’t like us, we shouldn’t care.”
- In The Daily Mail’s classic punchy style, the paper carried this headline:
The paper called the start of Romney’s trip “humiliating.”
- Sticking with the slapping theme, the London Evening Standard wrote: “David Cameron slaps down US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney over Games gaffe.”
- The UK’s Channel 4 news even awarded medal status to Romney visit: a “golden gaffe.”
“It probably wasn’t the most diplomatic way to begin his London trip - but Mitt Romney told US television network NBC that he wasn’t sure if Britain was really ready to host the Olympic Games,” Felicity Spector wrote.
- Even the BBC couldn’t help but get in on the fun. “Mr Romney is credited with rescuing the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, now he’s appeared to question London’s readiness to host a successful olympics,” host George Alagiah said. Throwing it over to North America editor Mark Mardell, Alagiah said: “If (Romney’s) here to make friends, he’s got a funny way of showing it.”
Watch the video:
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com