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.”
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.”
The Mitt Romney Summer 2012 World Tour to Three Countries is apparently having trouble moving tickets.
The London blogger Guido Fawkes reports that organizers of a Romney fundraising reception in the city this evening have slashed the original $2,500 ticket price to $1,000 for “a few last minute guests,” in an effort to drum up participation.
Fawkes quotes an email from organizers:
Subject: romney dinner…..reduced price for last minute guests has been negotiated
As if questioning the enthusiasm of the British public wasn’t enough, Romney appeared to go on to denounce the whole of Europe, telling NBC: “We’re at a point here where we have two different roads we can go down. One leads to Europe. The other leads to the kind of dynamism and prosperity which has always characterised America.”