Hint: I don’t think it was at all, as much as certain members of the media are playing up Romney’s tour abroad like it was the most gaffe-tastic episode in the history of modern politics. Apparently, we’re to believe that Romney’s week off from domestic campaigning was a “public relations disaster,” that it “didn’t go well,” that it could “cost him” in his run for the White House, etcetera. ABC even has a handy-dandy list of the supposed flubs of Romney’s “awkward foreign tour.” Yeah, okay, if you say so:
Who Mitt made mad: Mad might be a bit strong, but the Labor party’s Ed Miliband couldn’t have been too pleased after their first meeting and brief photo op.
What Mitt said: The problem lay largely in what he didn’t say — specifically “Miliband.” Romney seemed to forget the opposition leader’s name: “Like you, Mr. Leader, I look forward to our conversations this morning.”
What they said: Miliband played it cool. The Independent newspaper just sounded confused. Their headline: “Mr. Leader? Did Mitt Romney forget Ed Miliband’s name?”
Er… yes, you’re right, all those gaffes are superbly gauche and embarrassing and speak to Romney’s inability to handle matters of foreign policy. I mean, why didn’t he just go whole-hog and moon the Queen while he was at it?
Really, though — perhaps calling London’s Olympic preparations “disconcerting” was mildly uncomfortable and could’ve been said differently, but otherwise, I’m not seeing the gaffes. As Ed recounted earlier, Romney had a great showing in Poland, and I must’ve missed the part where angering the overly-sensitive Palestinians by merely speaking the truth is supposed to be cause for alarm. Maybe I’m lacking some nuance here, but I don’t see the average American voter reading too much more into this than I am.
There is the argument that voters aren’t going to be voting this November based on foreign policy and that Romney’s time would have been better spent at home, but it is an important issue and it’s not like this was some eleventh-hour voyage — there are still 98 days to go. As Romney reinforced on Fox News this morning, all this talk about his supposed “gaffes” is just more media baloney meant to steer the masses away from the crucial issues:
“You know, I’m very pleased with what I’ve learned on this trip and the opportunities I’ve had to speak with leaders and exchanges we had. And I realize that there will be some in the fourth estate or whichever estate, who are far more interested in finding something to write about that is unrelated to the economy, to geopolitics, to the threat of war, to the reality of conflict in Afghanistan today, to a nuclearization of Iran. They’ll instead try to find—try and find anything else to divert from the fact that these last four years have been tough years for our country. They’ve been years of tumult in the world. And we need to see a better direction taken on the part of our nation.”