|Saturday, 28 July 2012 14:36|
Mitt Romney struggled Friday to stem political fallout at home after insulting Britain's handling of the London Games. The stumble at least briefly pitted the Republican presidential candidate against America\'s strongest ally while limiting his ability to capitalize on more troubling U.S. economic news.
At the same time, President Obama used his office to try to take advantage of the Republican\'s missteps abroad, praising Britain for its Olympics preparations and sending money to Israel - just as Romney prepared to visit that nation.
The confluence of events confounded Republicans and tickled Democrats. "You have to shake your head," GOP strategist Karl Rove said Friday on Fox News.
Publicly at least, Romney\'s campaign shrugged it all off as having little impact on American voters and moved aggressively to change the subject. But harsh British press reports targeting Romney\'s initial comment - that problems with Olympic preparations were "disconcerting" - made it difficult for him to turn the page.
"Mitt the Twit" screamed Friday\'s headline in the Sun. "Who invited party-pooper Romney?" asked the Daily Mail. "Nowhere Man" declared the more reserved Times of London, a reference to a biting comment by Prime Minister David Cameron, who implied that Romney lacked the experience to offer advice to one of the world\'s great capitals since the Olympics he helped organize in Salt Lake City took place "in the middle of nowhere."
Romney\'s trip comes just over 100 days before an election that is expected to be close and, for now at least, is dominated by the economy\'s sluggish recovery. Underscoring it, the Commerce Department released new numbers Friday showing that U.S. economic growth slowed to an annual rate of 1.5 percent from April through June, as Americans cut back on spending.
Romney was keeping to his promise not to criticize Obama directly while on foreign soil. Instead, he dispatched a series of allies to lambaste the president.
"Despite a string of bad economic reports, President Obama refuses to change course," said Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a potential Romney running mate.
One day before Romney\'s visit to Israel, Obama signed legislation Friday increasing military and civilian ties between the United States and Israel. And he authorized the release of an additional $70 million in military aid for Israel, a previously announced move that appeared timed to Romney\'s trip.
Courtesy: SF Gate