After ‘Anglo-Saxon’ gaffe, Mitt Romney and British PM trade barbs over Olympics
LONDON — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney quickly caused a stir on his overseas tour Thursday by questioning whether Britain is prepared to pull off the Olympic Games without problems.
“It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out,” Romney told NBC News, and he called the late-developing concerns over security staffing “disconcerting.”
Romney, a former businessman and one-term governor who managed the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002, is largely untested on the world’s political stage, and he hopes to assert himself in a tight and highly expensive presidential race with foreign visits that also include Israel and Poland.
He ended up putting Prime Minister David Cameron at least briefly on the defensive. In response to Romney’s remarks, the prime minister said, “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.”
He apparently was referring to Utah, the site of the games Romney managed. The lively British media pounced. “PM delivers Olympic putdown to Romney,” The Times newspaper in London trumpeted.
The minor row comes a day after the Daily Telegraph newspaper published a story quoting an unidentified Romney campaign adviser saying the Republican believes the U.S. relationship with Britain is special because of shared “Anglo-Saxon heritage” and the White House doesn’t appreciate that shared history.