In the interview Romney said that “a few things that were disconcerting” about London’s preparations. “The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, supposed strike of immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging,” he said.
And the world went crazy.
The Telegraph writes:
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…
Not once have I heard him [in his stump speech] 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.
The hard-left Guardian ran with a headline “Mitt Romney’s Olympics blunder stuns No 10 and hands gift to Obama” and quotes one senior British source as saying, “What a total shocker. We are speechless.
Even Prime Minister David Cameron had a not so subtle response.
“We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world,” Cameron said. “Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.”
A thinly-veiled shot at Romney’s own celebrated Olympic stewardship over the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.
London Mayor Boris Johnson addressing attendees at a lighting ceremony noted:
There is a guy name Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we are ready, are we ready? Yes we are
Allahpundit at HotAir had this to say:
You’ll see three reactions on the right to all of this, I suspect. One: Who cares? It won’t cost Romney a single vote. As lefty Nate Silver put it, “[Doubtful] that Romney will carry Hertfordshire after this Olympics gaffe.” Two:Romney was right. Watch his comments again. He’s clearly been paying attention to British preparations from the unique perspective of a guy who’s had to deal with all of it before. Even Piers Morgan felt obliged to concede his points on CNN this afternoon. Fleet Street’s shooting the messenger here. Three: Why, Mitt, why? The point of the trip is to draw a contrast with The One’s oafish insistence on insulting the British after he took office, from removing the bust of Churchill in the Oval Office to this immortal moment of narcissistic idiocy. Romney’s going to restore the “special relationship” and his first step in doing so is by gladhanding every Brit in sight.
I’m one of those Brit’s who is supposedly offended. Well I’m not. I select option two.
I live less than a mile away from the Olympic Park and it’s a disaster. London is not ready. At Heathrow Airport, border control is chaos, waiting time for passport control can be up to 4 hours. Traffic is a disaster, everything is clogged up everywhere. Every morning you wake up there is talk about another strike. G4S, the company responsibly for security made a mess of it and then there is the transport system that seems to be having one problem after another.
The joke around town is that “they ran out of toilet paper at the Olympics park”. Not that they actually did, but no one would be surprised if it actually happened. THAT’s how big of the mess it is.
Here is Piers Morgan on CNN today giving his own frank assessment that Romney was telling the truth and just saying what everyone already knows.
Mitt Romney was absolutely right. he called it like he saw it. Romney spoke for many Londoners, including yours truly, who are totally frustrated by this big giant mess. Isn’t that what we expect from our leaders? Yeah.. yeah I get the diplomacy. But just imagine if Romney would have gone political correct and in is response just praised the Brits for a “perfect” job. He would have been criticised for being out of touch, not knowing what’s going on, as someone who has run the Olympics he would have been expected to know what was going on especially on the eve he was travelling to the city to take part in the opening ceremony.
The British media would have gone after him for not caring enough about “our” Olympics to know what’s really going on.
Romney was in a lose lose situation. He made the choice to speak the truth, something I find quite comforting coming from a candidate running for the most powerful office in the world.