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Romney to walk into the lion’s den; plans trip, speeches abroad

posted at 12:33 pm on July 21, 2012 by

In July of 2008, Barack Obama gave a speech at the Victory Column in Berlin to establish his bona fides as a prospective world leader and diplomat, a man at ease among kings and counselors.

At the time, the decision by an American presidential candidate to hold what was essentially a campaign rally on foreign soil struck some people as odd. None was more nonplussed than German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was perhaps still reeling from the initial planned site of the speech, the Brandenburg Gate, which had provided a backdrop for Ronald Reagan’s historic 1987 “tear down this wall” speech.

That was four years ago. The question now is how Mitt Romney will fare during and following his own speeches abroad.

You read right. The Associated Press reports that the GOP candidate plans on lifting a chapter out of candidate Obama’s playbook next week, when he “travels to England, Israel and Poland looking to establish credibility as a potential commander in chief”:

For the Republican presidential hopeful—a former private equity executive and Massachusetts governor with little formal experience overseas—it’s a chance to demonstrate competence in settings often occupied by presidents. He’ll hold formal meetings with foreign leaders, give public speeches and visit historic sites.

Aides say it’s a chance for the candidate to forge links with strong U.S. allies and show that he’ll stand up for shared values.

There’s also risk: Romney, sometimes prone to misstatements, faces higher stakes wading into delicate diplomatic disputes than he does on the more familiar campaign trail at home. And executing a complicated trip through three countries over a weeklong span presents the most difficult logistical challenge Romney’s campaign has yet faced.

As a past corporate executive, Romney should know better. He should be aware that the best place to acquire foreign policy credentials is not out in the “field” but inside the “boardroom,” where the only audience for any missteps will be his advisers.

It is true that foreign policy is one area in which Romney is still viewed as lagging behind the president. A CBS/New York Times poll this week found Obama ahead by 7 percentage points, 47% to Romney’s 40%. But the same poll also showed Romney ahead for the first time, if by a hair, in the more important question of who the respondent supports in the upcoming election.

The AP article notes that “Romney plans to outline his foreign policy vision in a speech Tuesday to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nev., before flying to London and the Olympic Games. He goes to Israel from there and finishes in Poland. While abroad, he plans major speeches in Jerusalem and Warsaw, though advisers say he’ll steer clear of outlining specific policy proposals in those addresses.”

Smart money dictates that the trip should not only begin with the Reno speech but end with it. If Romney does go ahead with his plans to speak on the world stage, one can only hope he will resists bowing to his peers abroad.

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As I said on another thread about this, I am glad Mitt is going! At least if he keeps his mouth shut about anything political, in public, the citizens of the counties he visits gets an idea how much different Mitt is than bho? Mitt is not an arrogant, ego, snotty, you bow to me type bho is. And Mitt/Ann have class and know how to deal with people of all kinds not just the heads of states.

I am really happy they are going to Poland, Israel, and England, some of the nations bho has slammed the worse and continues to do so. I know the citizens of these countries can’t vote, but if Mitt makes an impression on them, they might ask family here to vote for Mitt? Sure couldn’t hurt?

This is all my opinion and I still will vote for Mitt over bho!
L

letget on July 21, 2012 at 3:03 PM

BTW, Mitt ‘walked into the lions den’ when he went to the naacp and came out OK, IMO!
L

letget on July 21, 2012 at 3:08 PM

I agree with L.

If done correctly, i think this is a good idea. The contrast between Romney abroad and Obama will be very interesting.

bitsy on July 21, 2012 at 4:06 PM

This article seems unduly pessimistic. And what’s this about “executing a complicated trip through three countries over a weeklong span presents the most difficult logistical challenge Romney’s campaign has yet faced”? He’s not trekking across the Sahara Desert or hiking through the Amazon rain forest. I’m sure the campaign can pull this trip off without any significant problems.

J.S.K. on July 21, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Here is more,Howard.

Poland Welcomes Romney’s Visit

Poland’s government welcomed Mitt Romney’s planned visit to the country in late July, when the presumptive Republican presidential nominee is set to meet the Polish leadership and former president Lech Walesa on a leg of his European tour.

After King Obama snubbed Lech Walesa at the White House last month, broke the missile defense treaty with Poland and the Czech Republic after he got into office and his “Polish Death Camps” gaffe, and as an Eastern European myself, with my entire family still there, a visit by Romney to Poland can only be a good thing.

JPeterman on July 21, 2012 at 5:53 PM

He should be received favorably in Israel and Poland. Obamaessiah has screwed them both.

In England, maybe he should say that as President he would ask for that bust of Churchill back.

farsighted on July 21, 2012 at 7:16 PM

There isn’t a single thing Romney will do differently than Obama in regards to foreign policy. It will be the same foreign policy of the past 100 years.

Dante on July 21, 2012 at 7:43 PM

farsighted on July 21, 2012 at 7:16 PM

Yep — Outside of Canada and the Keystone pipeline kerfuffle, the three countries Romney is going to visit are the three who have either been treated the worst by Obama (Israel, England) or have the most to fear from Obama’s policies (Poland, and especially after Barack’s little whispering thing to Medved about his “greater flexibility” in a second term, once he doesn’t have to worry anymore about what those stupid voters think about his policies).

I’m sure there will at least be some protests ginned up in England, because there are enough British wanna-bes who like to pretend they’re part of the Democratic Party’s top apparatus. But after all the public snubs Obama’s dealt England both with Labour and the Conservatives in power, odds are not too many Brits are going to be all-in on some major self-flagellation just to make Romney look bad and boost the hopes of the guy who hates them.

jon1979 on July 21, 2012 at 9:26 PM

Smart choices of places. Obama has done major damage to our relationship with all three countries. All three of those countries are pro-American but not fond of Obama. Mr. Romney will be well-received in all three countries.

crosspatch on July 22, 2012 at 3:38 AM

The Associated Press reports that the GOP candidate plans on lifting a chapter out of candidate Obama’s playbook next week, when he “travels to England, Israel and Poland looking to establish credibility as a potential commander in chief”:

So again Romney is just like 0bama? Expected!

DannoJyd on July 22, 2012 at 4:35 AM

As a past corporate executive, Romney should know better. He should be aware that the best place to acquire foreign policy credentials is not out in the “field” but inside the “boardroom,” where the only audience for any missteps will be his advisers.

I’m struggling to understand Portnoy’s complaint. Perhaps he meant to use a sarc tag?

Buy Danish on July 22, 2012 at 9:54 AM

Romney should definitely travel abroad, but he shouldn’t give speeches. Leave those for his presidency.

Even if he were still a governor — our governors give plenty of speeches abroad — it would be better politics to have talks with senior ministers in foreign governments and be photographed with them than to give public speeches.

The UK, Poland, and Israel are great, and if he’s going to go somewhere, those are good stops. He should definitely visit (or have visited; it’s a little late in the season now) France, Germany, and Italy, and should visit Turkey, India, and Japan as well. In this hemisphere, presidential candidates should visit Mexico and Colombia.

The speeches are just a bad idea.

J.E. Dyer on July 22, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Smart money dictates that the trip should not only begin with the Reno speech but end with it.

Not very smart money. Romney absolutely has to attend the Olympics–it’s a golden opportunity for him, and if you don’t know why I’m not even going to waste my time explaining it. Once he’s overseas anyway, an Israel trip is a savvy play for Jewish voters. But he then has to visit some other country (or else it looks like nothing but an Israel trip, which is politically awkward), and Poland is probably the friendliest possible ground for him… and it provides him a great opportunity to contrast himself with the “more flexible” Obama.

Don’t try to paint this as Evita’s Rainbow Tour. Romney’s making a smart play here.

Fabozz on July 22, 2012 at 12:00 PM

J.E. Dyer on July 22, 2012 at 11:57 AM

For obvious reasons, J.E., you’re the first commenter I’ve agreed with, though I fear there is an added risk that he will say something untoward (along the lines of “I was recently chatting with the owner of the Miami Dolphins) that the MSM will be waiting to pounce on.

As for the rest of the commenters, I hope you are right and that I am wrong.

Howard Portnoy on July 22, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Howard Portnoy on July 22, 2012 at 12:10 PM

You actually disagree with me that Romney would continue our interventionist foreign policy, despite evidence of the past 100 years???

Dante on July 22, 2012 at 12:43 PM

The speeches are just a bad idea.

Maybe if Mitt was paid to give a speech in, say, India it would be hailed as a brilliant move?

Romney can give a speech about freedom from tyranny, economic freedom, religious freedom, security, alliances, trust, and so forth without mentioning O’s name. Really puzzled by the concerns about this.

Buy Danish on July 22, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Should have mentioned – France strikes me as a particularly odd suggestion. Why go into Socialist hothouse of President Francois Hollande, who has nothing but contempt for free markets, hates the “rich” and is a self-declared “enemy of finance”?

Buy Danish on July 22, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Should have mentioned – France strikes me as a particularly odd suggestion. Why go into Socialist hothouse of President Francois Hollande, who has nothing but contempt for free markets, hates the “rich” and is a self-declared “enemy of finance”?

Buy Danish on July 22, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Because France is our first and oldest ally, if not our closest, and is one of the top three NATO allies in terms of defense commitments.

Since I’m not talking about Romney giving speeches, he should go where we need to reaffirm our partnerships and commitments.

It was a bad idea for Obama to give a speech in Berlin, and it’s a bad idea for any other presidential candidate to give speeches abroad during the campaign. The candidates are running for our vote, and they should give their speeches here. Giving them elsewhere carries undesirable overtones about the US posture. We don’t own the rest of the world, nor should our candidates — as opposed to current elected representatives — be comfortable holding ccampaign events on someone else’s territory. National boundaries matter. When you’re going overseas representing only yourself, seek out the local leaders, with courtesy and reticence, and don’t stage big events for yourself.

I think Romney would treat foreign leaders very courteously. But public speeches are staging big events for himself. American candidates need to cease the bad practice of using foreign countries for this purpose immediately.

J.E. Dyer on July 22, 2012 at 3:01 PM

There isn’t a single thing Romney will do differently than Obama in regards to foreign policy. It will be the same foreign policy of the past 100 years.

Dante on July 21, 2012 at 7:43 PM

You mean crushing Nazis and Commies?

Because Obama doesn’t really do that, though he does have an affinity for drone strikes over attempts to gather intelligence.

BKennedy on July 24, 2012 at 5:49 AM

As a past corporate executive, Romney should know better. He should be aware that the best place to acquire foreign policy credentials is not out in the “field” but inside the “boardroom,” where the only audience for any missteps will be his advisers.

-Howard Portnoy

Seems like this blogger is just digging for something which would allow him to say he disagreed with Romney.

Sorry, Howard, but Mitt is more than capable of meeting with foreign leaders and speaking publically in different settings. This is a GREAT opportunity for him and for the rest of the world to get an early look at the man who will soon be the leader of the free world.

Perhaps if we were talking about some other competence-challenged Republican politicians (not naming any names) embarking on a similar overseas trip, then there would be legitimate cause for concern.

…though I fear there is an added risk that he will say something untoward (along the lines of “I was recently chatting with the owner of the Miami Dolphins) that the MSM will be waiting to pounce on.

-Howard Portnoy

You seem a bit intimidated by the MSM. Don’t be such a scaredy cat. You should know by now that even if Mitt doesn’t say something “untoward” (to use your word), then they will simply invent or totally miscontrue his words. That’s just a given.

bluegill on July 24, 2012 at 6:37 AM

I think Romney would treat foreign leaders very courteously. But public speeches are staging big events for himself. American candidates need to cease the bad practice of using foreign countries for this purpose immediately.

J.E. Dyer on July 22, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Um, sorry, J.E., but American candidates should continue communicating with our friends in foreign countries, when appropriate. Your suggestion is rash and silly.

Considering the fact that Romney has a very good chance of becoming President of the United States (a position that comes with vast influence and power that doesn’t stop at our national borders) in less than 6 months, I think people in foreign countries will be quite interested in what Romney has to say. You know, I’m sure Mitt is more than capable of realizing that the standard political “vote for me” stump speech is not going to be appropriate in another country. At the same time, speaking about our shared values and other lofty ideals, etc. is perfectly fine and, indeed, a great thing! Yes, public speeches CAN be done in a way that isn’t “all about the speech giver.” Maybe Obama has trouble pulling off such a feat, but I assure you that it CAN be done, and Mitt is more than capable of doing it. What’s more, politically-speaking, seeing Romney on the world stage will make it easier for many voters to imagine Romney as president.

Not sure what you have against communicating with our friends in other countries. You seem to think that a leading candidate for president speaking about shared values in a public way is somehow acting as though we think we own the rest of the world, but I think it shows respect to those countries by acknowledging the importance of our relationships with them.

bluegill on July 24, 2012 at 7:03 AM