Mitt Romney’s World Debut
For months, maybe even years, conservative presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his supporters have accused President Barack Obama of going around the world apologizing to other countries for America. Like a lot of baseless accusations made against the President, this allegation is made without giving a single example and yet people buy into that rhetoric. He’s been accused of being an appeaser and of being embarrassed for everything that makes the United States so exceptional in many people’s opinion. Mr. Obama’s foreign policy is often described as weak and woeful and if Mr. Romney is elected President he will make America great again.
To shore up his foreign policy credentials, the Romney for President campaign is taking their show overseas. As the one person who had the vision to save the 2002 Winter Olympics from scandal, Mitt Romney going to London, England to raise his foreign policy profile was an ideal opportunity for the conservative presidential wannabe. And if that wasn’t enough to get Mr. Romney out of the country, the opportunity to watch his wife’s horse compete in the dressage event was surely the icing to seal the deal.
But instead of coming off as a foreign policy star, Mr. Romney looks more like a foreign policy dud. A lot of people are comparing Mitt Romney’s performance to that of the bumbling Clark Griswold portrayed by Chevy Chase in the classic comedy European Vacation. Instead of acting like a man with exceptional political experience to become a President ready to deal with countries around the world, Mr. Romney looks like he learned his global political etiquette from somebody like Sarah Palin.
When asked by NBC’s Brian Williams for a comment about London’s preparations, instead of being gracious and giving England the type of support that comes from the head of state from its supposed closest ally, Mr. Romney expresses concerns and reservations. It was old news that the Olympic committee outsourced the security at the games to a company that came up woefully short. But Mitt Romney didn’t hesitate to criticize and rehash this old news. You would think he was stuck in campaign mode and made the mistake of thinking he was running against the London planners in his bid for President.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Mr. Romney’s lack of diplomatic tact was magnified when appeared to have forgotten Labour Leader Ed Miliband’s name during a press conference. Instead of referring to Mr. Millibrand by his surname, Mr. Romney referred to him as simply Mr. Leader. Some speculated it was jetlag. If so, did Mr. Romney really forget himself and thought that he was in North Korea? For the record, Mr. Millibrand and the Dear Leader look nothing alike. Maybe he simply never bothered to learn the man’s name in the first place.
And if that’s still not bad enough, Mr. Romney made another gaffe on his London trip by publicly acknowledging during a press conference that he met with the head of Britain’s MI6 intelligence agency. Mr. Romney’s meeting with MI6 head Sir John Sawers was not made an official item on his schedule and Mr. Romney himself made the major blunder by revealing it, CBS News and The Guardian reported. Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office told made a statement that Sir John Sawers meets with many people, but they don’t give public commentary on any of those private meetings. MI6 was not officially acknowledged until 1994. The British take their national secret intelligence service very seriously with a heavy emphasis on secrecy.
To his credit, Mr. Romney recognized his faux pas and did his best to walk back his comments. We all should remember that this is the man who doesn’t remember what he said but he stands by what he said whatever it was. But this time, he understood that he had to do a little damage control. It was his first appearance on the world stage after all and he couldn’t leave London with a big row in his wake. Anybody in a similar position would do the same thing.
But the bigger problem for Mr. Romney is that he has just lost one of his most often used reasons for taking Mr. Obama’s job. Mr. Obama goes around the world apologizing for America. But straight out the box on his first world tour as a presidential contender, Mr. Romney is walking back his comments and his woeful performance that makes him look like the stereotypical ugly American unfit to travel abroad. Foreign policy and foreign diplomacy has been proven to be a very weak point for this candidate.
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