“Mitt the Twit”: UK Prime Minister, London Mayor & British Media Hammer “Wazzock” Romney on Olympic Comments
UK Prime Minister David Cameron, London Mayor Boris Johnson and myriad British media outlets have slammed Mitt Romney after the Republican presidential candidate expressed doubts about London’s preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Visting London, the first leg of a mini-world tour that will also include stops in Israel and Poland, Romney inexplicably opined that Britain’s preparations for the Olympics, which begin Friday, were “disconcerting.”
“There are a few things that were disconcerting,” Romney said in an interview with NBC Nightly News, “the stories about the private security firm not having enough people, supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging.”
Those comments drew a harsh rebuke from British Prime Minister David Cameron, a fellow conservative, who mocked Salt Lake City along with Romney, who headed the organizing committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics there.
“This is a time of some economic difficulty for the UK but look at what we are capable of achieving as nation even at a difficult economic time,” Cameron fired back. “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.”
Then it was London Mayor Boris Johnson’s turn to respond to Romney’s remarks.
“There are some people who are coming from around the world who don’t yet know about all the preparations we’ve done to get London ready in the last seven years,” he said, firing up a massive crowd in London’s Hyde Park. “I hear there’s a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we’re ready. He wants to know whether we’re ready. Are we ready?” The crowd then roared in agreement. “Are we ready? Yes, we are.”
The British media, both high and low, then piled on the hapless visitor.
“MITT THE TWIT,” screamed the headline on the tabloid Sun on Friday, calling the former Massachusetts governor a “wannabe US president.”
“Is this guy really prepared to be president?” a Sky News reporter asked during a Thursday evening newscast, adding that Romney’s comments were “daft.”
The Independent dubbed the candidate’s trip “#Romneyshambles” in an article in which former US Olympic track and field superstar Carl Lewis is quoted as saying, “some Americans shouldn’t leave the country.”
After Romney walked back his “disconcerting” comment amid the criticism that rained down like a January Cornwall gale, he still couldn’t catch a break. The Independent chided him for committing “the cardinal sin of US politics, flip-flopping.”
It wasn’t just his Olympic remarks that made Romney look like a dozy wazzock. He also attended a pair of fundraisers for US expatriates at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, at which supporters paid up to $75,000 to shake hands with the former Bain Capital CEO. Executives from Barclay’s, the British banking giant at the center of the Libor interest rate-rigging scandal, reportedly donated more than $1 million to Romney’s campaign coffers. Disgraced former Barclay’s CEO Bob Dimond has donated $2,500, the maximum allowable amount, to Romney’s campaign, the Boston Globe reports.
Romney also had faces planting in palms on both sides of the Pond after he disclosed a secret meeting with the head of MI6, Britain’s spy agency.
Incredibly, even conservative commentators in Romney’s corner here in the US had harsh words following his gaffe parade. Über-conservative Washington Post columnist and Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer, for example, called Romney’s Olympic comments “unbelievable,” “incomprehensible,” and “a lot of other adjectives.”
“All Romney has to do, say nothing,” Krauthammer lamented. “It’s like a guy in the 100-meter dash. All he has to do is to finish, he doen’t have to win. And instead, he tackles the guy in the lane next to him and ends up disqualified. I don’t get it.”
But even after all the fuss he’d kicked up, the Romney campaign just couldn’t let it go. Friday morning, Team Romney blasted Mayor Johnson as an “eccentric, odd fellow” who was biased in favor of President Barack Obama.
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