LONDON – 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 Barack Obama used his office to try to take advantage of the Republican’s missteps abroad, praising Britain for its Olympics preparations one day and sending money to Israel the next – just as Romney prepared to visit that nation.
The confluence of events – just as the world focused on London’s opening ceremonies – confounded Republicans and tickled Democrats. People in both parties wondered aloud how the former Massachusetts governor could have complicated the opening leg of a three-nation tour carefully crafted to highlight his diplomatic strengths and personal Olympic experience.
“You have to shake your head,” GOP strategist Karl Rove said Friday on Fox News.
It was unclear just how much damage Romney, who had hoped to burnish his limited foreign policy credentials, did with an American electorate that hasn’t fully tuned into the race.