Romney gaffe machine in Olympic overdrive
If you check out last night’s Jay Leno show (you can see the clip on Politico here at 1’15 in ), you get a flavour of how Mitt Romney’s having to live down the fact that his wife has a horse in the dressage competition at the Olympics – “horse ballet,” Jay Leno calls it – “finally something that connects Romney with the average American voter.” Another US comedian called it “competitive horse prancing”.
In his NBC interview last night at the Tower of London, Mitt Romney down-played the whole thing: “I have to tell you, this is Ann’s sport. I’m not even sure which day the sport goes on… I will not be watching the event.”
Well, it’s a week today for the dressage and the horse to look out for is Rafalca.
There was a glimpse of the Romney gaffe machine in action in his NBC interview when he appeared to suggest London wasn’t ready for the Olympics. “You know, it’s hard to know just how well it will turn out… There are a few things that were disconcerting,” before going on to talk about the security and airport strike stories.
This morning he tried to correct that impression, saying: “It is impossible for no mistakes to occur but those are overshadowed by the extraordinary demonstrations of courage, character and determination by the athletes.”
There’s real concern amongst some Whitehall sources about what is seen as a lack of foreign policy awareness in the Romney team. Mitt Romney has said Russia is the US’s “number one geopolitical foe”.
A Romney presidency would pose a whole host of problems for the coalition. He’s inclined to slow down the rate of withdrawal from Afghanistan. David Cameron is utterly wedded to the current timetable.
He’d be likely to ratchet up pressure on Iran – the most dangerous force on earth since Hitler’s Germany and Communist Russia, he has stated. London could find itself trying to hold Washington back on Iran.
He wants much more investment in military hardware and would presumably urge allies like the UK to stop hacking back defence budgets. He’s having chats with the DPM, PM, chancellor, foreign secretary, Tony Blair and Ed Miliband today.
In at least one of these I understand Mitt Romney stuck pretty much exclusively to matters economic, where he feels more comfortable. Mitt Romney knew all about the UK – 0.7% GDP figure out yesterday. The chat was, I’m told, dominated by the Eurozone troubles and world economic growth.