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Romney’s Olympic undiplomacy


 

When Mitt Romney’s campaign announced that he was traveling to London to attend the Olympic opening ceremonies, it sounded like a brilliant move. A chance to shift attention away from the controversy surrounding his business record to his less controversial success at running the Salt Lake City Games in 2002.

But that’s not how it has turned out. Romney criticized, however mildly, the British handling of the games — commenting on “disconcerting” reports of insufficient security staffing, and questioning British support for the Games.

Here’s what he got back from PM David Cameron:

“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.”

Ouch.

The Times of London account notes that Cameron “went on to refer to his recent trip to Naypyidaw, the deserted new capital of Burma.”

But it was largely portrayed as a putdown of Romney’s games in Utah. The Salt Lake City mayor’s office responded:

“(David Cameron) can stop by any time. We’d love to have him and are happy to send a map so he doesn’t run into any trouble locating the middle of nowhere.”

 

After enduring the explosive minefield of political pitfalls that are the Olympic ceremonies in an Anglophone allied country, Romney must be relieved to be heading this weekend to the Middle East.

 


 
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