LONDON—Mitt Romney tried to downplay his suggestion that he found preparations for London's Summer Olympics "disconcerting," which he made in an interview with NBC News. But the GOP candidate's comment continues to haunt him here.
At a pre-Olympics rally in Hyde Park Thursday, London Mayor Boris Johnson openly mocked Romney's comments—calling him out by name to the crowd.
"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," Johnson said. "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?! Are we ready?! Yes, we are?!"
Johnson's criticism comes just hours after British Prime Minister David Cameron offered a snippy response to Romney's comments, telling reporters," Of course it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere"—a comment widely interpreted to be a reference to Salt Lake City, where Romney ran the 2002 Winter Olympics.
But Cameron apparently didn't voice his displeasure with Romney face-to-face. A senior Romney aide, who declined to be named, told reporters Romney's comments on the London Olympics didn't come up in their meeting at 10 Downing Street earlier today.
Still, Romney emerged from the meeting praising the London games at length—a suggestion that he was aware of the firestorm his comments to NBC had started in the British press.
"What I see shows imagination and forethought and a lot of organization, and I expect the games to be highly successful," Romney said.