Despite my opinion of Mitt Romney, I always thought that at least he is more intelligent than our last Republican president. But now I’m not quite sure about that.
Romney is in the middle of a trip to England, which is supposed to show him acting like a statesman. It also helps that the Olympics are starting on Friday, because it gives Romney a chance to remind people that he ran the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.
Until now, the Olympics seemed to be the only part of his career that Romney was willing to talk about. If fact, he is so proud of his Olympics that he wrote a book about it called “Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership, And The Olympic Games“. His role in the Olympics was a major factor in his winning the governorship of Massachusetts (something that he doesn’t like to talk about).
But it turns out that Romney saved his Olympics on the back of the taxpayers. He lobbied for so much money from the federal government that he had to be registered as a lobbyist. Which is hypocritical since Romney attacked both Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum during the primary for their work as lobbyists.
So how much money did Romney get from the government? How about $1.3 billion from the feds, plus more from the state of Utah. That’s more taxpayer money spent than all the previous Olympics put together. Even Republicans called the Salt Lake games “an incredible pork-barrel project”, “a ripoff of the taxpayers”, and “a national disgrace”, and called for a federal investigation into corruption.
So what does Romney do when he arrives in London for their Olympics? On Wednesday, Romney was interviewed by NBC, and in an easy warm-up question was asked about his wife’s horse, Rafalca, which is competing in the Olympics dressage event, and whether Britain is ready to host the Olympics. Easy questions. But Romney blows both of them.
First, he insults the Brits by saying about the preparations for the Olympics “There are a few things that were disconcerting. 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.”
Prime minster David Cameron, whom Romney was scheduled to meet on Thursday, shot 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.
And the mayor of London also strikes back in a speech at the Olympic torch ceremony:
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. I hear there’s a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we’re ready. Are we ready? Are we ready? Yes, we are!
Note that Cameron and the Mayor are both conservatives. Imagine if it was someone who didn’t like him.
Oh, and about that question about his wife’s horse? Romney replied:
I have to tell you. This is Ann’s sport. I’m not even sure which day the sport goes on. She will get the chance to see it, I will not be watching the event. I hope her horse does well.
WTF? If your spouse’s horse were in an Olympic contest, would you not even watch? This is either a fib, designed to insulate him from whatever minimal fallout there is from owning a dressage horse; or it’s true and he’s just unlike other human beings. I mean, Obama makes sure he sees his daughters’ high school sports games. But Romney won’t even watch his wife’s horse at the Olympics?
One British newspaper tweeted “Can this get any worse for Romney?” Indeed it could. Another British newspaper even made a list of all the “boobs, blunders, clangers” that Romney has already dropped in just the first two days of his trip.
The worst gaffe? Romney commented to the press about his meeting with the head of the MI6, the international arm of the British secret service. But the MI6 schedule is supposed to be secret and it is a serious breach of protocol for Romney to mention it. Oops. So much for burnishing his foreign policy credentials.
Romney’s blunders have undercut the entire purpose of the trip, which was to prove he could adequately represent U.S. interests with international leaders despite his scant foreign policy experience. He hasn’t met that standard so far. Even Drudge has turned against him.
And even Karl Rove, who is spending millions of dollars to get Romney elected, is shaking his head at Romney blowing what should have been a perfect photo-op.