First Impressions
On July 25-31, 2012 presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney did an overseas trip travelling to London for the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, and to Israel and Poland.  (Recall that then Sen. Barack Obama had made an overseas trip almost exactly four years earlier).  Romney's venture onto the world stage and interactions with foreign leaders, provided the opportunity to boost to his stature.  Democrats were primed to pounce on the smallest gaffe or mishap.  The first impressions were not good for Romney.

The first ammunition came before Romney had even left the United States in a July 24 article in The Daily Telegraph quoting an unnamed adviser. “We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special,” the adviser said of Mr Romney, adding: “The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have.”

PRESS RELEASE from Obama for America
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 
Contact: Obama for America Press
Statement from Vice President Biden on the Start of Governor Romney’s Foreign Trip
CHICAGO – Vice President Joe Biden released the following statement today in reaction to the start of Governor Romney’s foreign trip:

“Despite his promises that politics stops at the water’s edge, Governor Romney’s wheels hadn’t even touched down in London before his advisors were reportedly playing politics with international diplomacy, attempting to create daylight between the United States and the United Kingdom where none exists.  Our special relationship with the British is stronger than ever and we are proud to work hand-in-hand with Prime Minister Cameron to confront every major national security challenge we face today.  On every major issue -- from Afghanistan to missile defense, from the fight against international terrorism to our success in isolating countries like Iran whose nuclear programs threaten peace and stability -- we’ve never been more in sync.  The comments reported this morning are a disturbing start to a trip designed to demonstrate Governor Romney’s readiness to represent the United States on the world’s stage.  Not surprisingly, this is just another feeble attempt by the Romney campaign to score political points at the expense of this critical partnership.  This assertion is beneath a presidential campaign.”


Then, in a July 25 interview with NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, Romney made a comment which was seen as as casting doubt on preparations for the Olympics. "The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging," Romney said.  Prime Minister David Cameron appeared to rebut the remarks, "We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world...  Of course it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere." And a a rally celebrating the arrival of the Olympic Torch, London Mayor Boris Johnson, mocked Romney stating, "I hear there's a guy, there's a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we're ready."  Additionally, at a press conference Romney committed another gaffe by acknowledging he had met with Sir John Sowers, head of British secret service.  “I can only say that I appreciated the insights and perspectives of the leaders of the government here and opposition here as well as the head of MI6 as we discussed Syria and the hope for a more peaceful future for that country,”  The net result was a raft of unfavorable headlines in the British press.  The Democratic National Committee made sure that reporters and others were kept on top of events, and their rapid response unit sent out a steady stream of releases throughout the day including the one below.

from DNC Rapid Response


Romney under fire for comments about London Olympics (ABC/Yahoo, 7/26/12)

Romney goes to Europe, causes stir (AP, 7/26/12)

Romney’s Remarks on Olympics Cause Stir in London (New York Times, 7/26/12)

Romney Trip Off to Inauspicious Start (National Journal, 7/26/12)

Mitt Romney questions whether Britain is ready for Olympic Games (Telegraph, 7/26/12)

Mitt Romney questions London's enthusiasm for Olympics (The Week, 7/26/12)

Olympics: David Cameron rejects Mitt Romney's suggestion Britain is not ready (Telegraph, 7/26/12)

Romney's Olympics false start (CNN 7/26/12)


Romney bombs in London, and can't wait to get to Jerusalem (Haaretz 7/26/12)


Mitt Romney's Olympics blunder stuns No 10 and hands gift to Obama (Guardian 7/26/12)


Come home, Romney (Washington Post 7/26/12)


Mitt’s British Blunders: How It Played In The UK Press (Talking Points Memo 7/26/12)


'Are we ready? Yes we are!' Mayor of London Boris Johnson attacks U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney as he issues Olympics rallying cry to 60,000 at Hyde Park (Daily Mail UK 7/26/12)


For Romney in London, 'D' Is for Diplomacy (ABC 7/26/12)


Oh, Mitt: those Romney gaffes in full (Guardian 7/26/12)


Romney Stumbles as He Kicks Off Overseas Trip (Wall Street Journal 7/26/12)


Romney high-profile trip abroad off to rocky start (Reuters 7/26/12)


A Recap of Romney’s Tough Day in London  (Wall Street Journal 7/26/12)


That's a good way to make new friends: Romney forced to backtrack after questioning Britain's ability to host Olympics on his first foreign visit (Daily Mail 7/26/12)


Mitt Romney's Olympics gaffe overshadows visit to London (Daily Telegraph 7/26/12)


Mitt Romney: Showing gold medal tone deafness in London (Washington Post 7/26/12)


Romney wades into London Olympics controversy (Los Angeles Times 7/26/12)


Romney's Olympic clean-up continues (Politico 7/26/12)