Romney’s London Flubs Give Obama an Opening

It is the unlikeliest of international scenarios that Mitt Romney — toothsome, Olympic-tested, rhetorically cautious Mitt Romney — would stumble onto the international stage in London and rapidly morph into the Ugly American.

Perhaps the famously, coolly analytical Romney is correct that London is not fully prepared to host the quadrennial Summer Games. And he was, assuredly, accurate in his book when he pointed out that England was, in relatively recent historical terms, an unparalleled global power and that it is no longer, and that its roads are small. And certainly, the fostering of international dialogue among local officials, even of the strained variety, is a worthy pursuit.

But you don’t come out and say these things, particularly not when you’re wiring an overseas trip intended to highlight your commitment to some of the most fiercely democratic countries on the planet, intending to elevate yourself to presidential status and reassure voters back home that you would be better at handling international affairs than the Oval Office’s current inhabitant. You don’t act like the fat Yankee with the American flag shirt and an Olympic-sized Leica around your neck, loudly requesting directions to the big clock.

And for Romney, who has built much of his foreign-policy argument this campaign around the notion that President Obama has been toadying up and apologizing to countries the world over, you most certainly don’t want to be in a position to say you’re sorry.

-- Jim O’Sullivan


Romney Trip Off to an Inauspicious Start
[National Journal, 7/26/12] Mitt Romney’s three-nation voyage was already losing points as the candidate arrived in London. Romney took flak for scheduling fundraisers with international financiers who may have been involved in the 2008 financial crisis — and that was before an unnamed campaign adviser made a racially charged remark.

Romney Meets UK Leaders Ahead of London Fundraiser
[CBS News, 7/26/12] Ahead of a day of fundraising, Romney sought to project an image of leadership and to send a message that he recognizes the close bonds between the U.S. and its top ally. Romney met on Thursday with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and current Prime Minister David Cameron.

Romney Walks Back Olympic Comments
[National Journal, 7/26/12] As Romney emerged from a meeting with Cameron on Thursday, Romney reiterated his faith in the host city’s Olympic Games preparations in an attempt to quell criticism of his earlier comments that he found events leading up to the Games “disconcerting.”

Romney Video Attacking Obama Over 'It Worked' Comment Taken Out of Context
[Slate, 7/26/12] Both Romney and the RNC were trying to make hay Thursday over a quote from a speech Obama gave earlier this week in which he says of the economy, “Just like we’ve tried their plan, we tried our plan—and it worked.” Dave Weigel digs up the full context, which shows Obama was referring to the Clinton-era tax rates when saying “it worked.”

Romney’s Veepstakes: Searching for Mr. (or Ms.) Right 
[National Journal, 7/26/12] From New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte to former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, here is an alphabetical guide through the trial balloons, wild speculation, and received conventional wisdom relating to Romney’s veep search. 

Is Michigan in Play for Romney?
[The Atlantic, 7/26/12] A recent poll showed Romney with a 1-point edge in Michigan and others have indicated a tight race. The Atlantic's David A. Graham provides a rundown of why the race looks close.

Romney Was Registered Lobbyist for 2002 Olympics
[Huffington Post, 7/26/12] Romney has regularly attacked opponents for serving as lobbyists, but the HuffPo reports a little-known fact: that he was a registered lobbyist in Utah for part of the time he was running the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Ad Rates Spike as Candidates, Groups Scurry to Get on Air
[National Journal, 7/26/12] The cost of running a single television advertisement has jumped in key markets across the country as candidates, party committees, and independent groups race to get their ads on the airwaves.

Obama's Damn-the-Torpedoes Call for Consensus on Gun Control
[National Journal, 7/26/12] Obama devoted considerable real estate to the idea of "commonsense" gun control in his speech to the National Urban League, but it wasn't exactly what people wanted. He didn't propose anything new, nor did he say anything even remotely suggesting that he would lead a full-out fight on the issue.

Voter Overload and the Presidential Endgame
[Roll Call, 7/26/12] Millions and millions of dollars in presidential ads have aired so far in battleground states, and the numbers will only grow. Will the ads resonate in key swing states, or will voters, drowning in a sea of arguments, statistics, and refrains of “America the Beautiful” played over and over — and over — tune it all out?

White House Tailors Black Health Care Pitch
[Politico, 7/26/12] Team Obama is pounding a new message these days: Blacks and Hispanics, among whom uninsured rates are significantly higher than among whites, stand to benefit disproportionately under the health care law.

Romney Won’t Make VP Announcement During Foreign-Policy Tour
[The Hill, 7/25/12] Romney said on Wednesday night that he had not yet picked a running mate and would not be making any kind of veep announcement during his six-day foreign tour.

VP Nominee or Not, Portman Is Valuable
[Roll Call, 7/26/12] In a Congress defined by partisan rancor and gridlock, the Ohio senator has been reaching across the aisle for legislative initiatives he finds worthy, like a measure he introduced on Wednesday to end the practice of government shutdowns.

Democratic Voter Enthusiasm Down Sharply From 2004, 2008
[Gallup, 7/25/12] A new Gallup/USA Today poll shows that Democrats are significantly less likely now than they were in the summers of 2004 and 2008 to report enthusiasm about voting in the coming presidential election. Republicans, by contrast, are more enthusiastic now than they were in 2008.

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