Romney in London

I’ve been intrigued at the insistence that Romney’s London comments were a “gaffe” — his statement was reasonable enough, if somewhat indelicate. He was probably surprised at the response, as the papers had been full of the same concerns up until the moment that some Obama wag figured out “hey, we could treat this as an insult to the Brits!”  This cartoon captures the situation:

Yes, the cartoon has it right — and so did Romney.

During the NBC interview itself, Romney’s original comment was not seen as a gaffe; NBC interviewer Brian Williams went on to pursue other topics, and could hardly have been surprised by the Olympics-management champion’s analysis:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: It seems to me this completes your Olympic experience. You get to run the games and now you actually have a horse in the race. What’s (LAUGH) that gonna be like?

MITT ROMNEY: Well, it’s– a big– exciting experience for my wife and– and for the person that she’s worked with, the trainer of the horse who’s riding the horse. And– obviously, it’s fun to be part of the Olympics in any way you can be part of them.

BRIAN WILLIAMS: When is the event, and for those of us who don’t follow the sport, what happens? Are there rounds that– of competition? Is there just one chance? What happens?

MITT ROMNEY: I have to tell you. This is Ann’s sport. I’m not even sure which day the sport goes on. She will get the chance to see it, I will not– be– watching– the event. I hope– her horse does well. But just the honor of being here and representing our country and– seeing the other Olympians is– is something which I’m sure the people– that are associated with this are looking forward to.

BRIAN WILLIAMS: And in the short time you’ve been here in London, do they look ready to your experienced eye?

MITT ROMNEY: You know, it’s hard to know just how well it were turn out– will turn out. There are a few things that were disconcerting, the stories about the– private security firm not having enough people– the sup– supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging. Because in the games, there– there are three parts that makes games successful: Number one, of course, are the athletes. That’s what overwhelmingly the games are about. Number two are the volunteers. And they’ll have great volunteers here. But number three are the people of the– of the country. Do they come together and celebrate the Olympic moment? And that’s something which we only find out once the games actually begin.

I wanna ask you about the– compelling– news back home, and that’s from Aurora, Colorado, where we were on Friday. And this is about your own record vis-à-vis what happened here…

No gasp, no surprise. Mitt Romney didn’t even say that the British weren’t ready — he said that there was “stories” suggesting problems, which is an undeniable fact. The cartoon above alludes to this in the background.

In fact, some documented “disconcerting” aspects of London’s Olympics preparation can be seen here, including their offenses to Muslims, North Koreans, the Welsh, and other silly bits of world-class misfires. Obama’s history in this region is interesting as well.

Later, ABC asked Romney if he regretted his statement:

Muir: If you got a do over would you answer it the same way?

Romney: I tend to tell people what I actually believe and referring to the comments that were made in the media was something which I felt was an honest reflection of what was being concerned what was concerning folks and having had the experience I’m absolutely convinced the organizing committee did what people hoped which is overcome the challenges and produced a brilliant product.

Isn’t that what we want? A straight shooter? I think so. I don’t like all of his statements, and I certainly don’t agree with all of his positions. But he is so much more honest than what we are dealing with currently, and the economy will respond immediately, positively, to a Romney win. The current administration’s record is so bad, they have to fabricate nonsense as a distraction. And do rather creepy things, such as provide apps to supporters so they can tell which of their neighbors are supporting Obama, or not.

There’s one more aspect to this: Romney was giving an honest answer, intending no offense, and hoping for the best. To this, Prime Minister Cameron and London Mayor Johnson launched into immediate personal insults about Romney, ignoring the fact that his observations were correct. And Romney’s experience? Laughed off by these gentlemen as Romney having run Olympics only in “the middle of nowhere.” To this, Salt Lake City’s mayor (a Democrat) jumped into the fray, offering to send them information about Utah including a map (so they could find the “middle of nowhere”) as well as find out all the things Salt Lake City has that London does not: An educated populace, clean air, good outdoor recreation, and low crime rates.  Good for him.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle