After Gaffe-Filled Foreign Tour, Europe Asks: ‘Is Mitt Romney a Loser?’

The headlines may be embarrassing, but the fallout of Mitt Romney's bumbling foreign tour will wreak minimal damage on his presidential campaign

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Charles Dharapak / AP

Presumptive Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks at the University of Warsaw Library in Warsaw on July 31, 2012

Mitt Romney’s trip to Europe and Israel may not have been a complete disaster. Yet it was close enough to a risible calamity that the presumptive Republican candidate has to be glad it’s over — and dreaming of returning to American turf and topics less likely to blow up in his face like a loaded cigar.

How bad was it? Washington Post editorialist Eugene Robinson called the voyage the “Romney Tour ’12 — Gaffepalooza.” French newsweekly Le Nouvel Observateur described it as having lurched “from failures to polemics.” Outraged over his second-guessing of London’s Olympic preparations, U.K. tabloid the Sun dubbed Romney “Mitt the Twit.” And French daily Le Figaro — a militantly partisan supporter of conservatives no matter where they hail from — on Tuesday ran a blog post with the headline, “Is Mitt Romney a Loser?”

(PHOTOS: The Rich History of Mitt Romney)

Given all that, it’s probably fair to say the journey didn’t quite fulfill Romney’s hopes of solidifying his bona fides as an international statesman. Instead, it seemed that no one wanted to miss out on the “Kick-a-Mitt” media action taking place as his tour wound up on Tuesday. In fact, all that was missing from that coverage was another entertaining Gail Collins question about whether Romney’s dog might have been strapped to the roof of his plane.

In all fairness to Romney, his trip represented a no-win prospect from the outset. In making it, he had almost nothing to gain and seemingly much to lose. In crossing the Atlantic, Romney struck out into countries whose political and cultural views are starkly different from his own and whose citizens still generally view U.S. President Barack Obama as a hero. Romney also entered the vortex of a global media cyclone that’s just as ravenous for gotcha headlines as any he has braved in the U.S. And stumble he did, right from the get-go.

As detailed by our Swampland colleague Alex Altman here, Romney hit European ground with a thud by making comments suggesting that he didn’t feel London was prepared to host the Summer Olympics. He may have well declared, “Let the kicking begin.” Once the media tempest over that gaffe calmed, Romney found himself attacked for being “racist and out of touch” by Palestinian leaders following remarks he made in Israel. (The backstory of that flare-up is nicely spelled out by Jerusalem bureau chief Karl Vick here.)

Then on Tuesday, he sought to close his tour in Poland — and preen Reagan-era feathers — by meeting Solidarity leaders who helped topple communist rule. But Romney wound up being rebuked by the union’s current leadership. Far from the warm endorsement he got from iconic Solidarity co-founder Lech Walesa, Solidarity itself issued a statement criticizing Romney and the GOP for their offensive against collective-bargaining agreements in several states that it called “attacks on trade unions and employees’ rights.” So much for being buddies with the world’s most avidly anticommunist, pro-market, pro-American labor union.

And just when things didn’t look like they could get worse for Team Romney on that final Polish leg — they did. Questioned by the press pool about the controversies that have plagued the trip, Romney’s traveling press secretary Rick Gorka reportedly shot back with orders to “kiss my ass … Show some respect.” Gorka was then said to have instructed a journalist to “shove it.”

Maybe the trip was a disaster after all.

U.S. political expert and professor emeritus at Paris Sorbonne University, André Kaspi, notes that trips abroad by American presidential candidates have become as routine as they are ultimately futile in affecting the outcome of races. “These trips ultimately change nothing in the thinking of Europeans greeting these candidates, nor — more importantly — for American voters who cast ballots based almost exclusively on domestic issue,” says Kaspi, whose French book Barack Obama: The Great Disillusion will be published in September.

“In going to London, Romney sought to resurrect his own successes with the Salt Lake City Games — a way of managing his own storytelling,” Kaspi continues. “In going to Israel and Poland, he sought to make a statement to American Jews and Catholics that he’s close to people and topics important to them. The potential of any of that actually altering presidential voting in November was so small to begin with that any damage done from this trip is equally insignificant.”

So too is the terrible impression Romney made in European minds during the trip. Kaspi says Romney likely struck Europeans who paid attention to his visit as a successful and astonishingly rich businessman with little concern for less affluent people. The other commonly known parts of his bio: that Romney’s a devout member of the Mormon faith who once banged on doors as a missionary in France.

“Neither of those things are viewed positively here,” Kaspi says. “Neither is the view that his policies will basically revisit those of the last Bush Administration — which is still considered in the darkest of terms here. So Romney starts off with a negative reputation in European eyes, which view Obama in a very positive manner anyway. How can gaffes make all that worse for Romney — and how are his chances undermined if they are? Europeans don’t count in American elections!”

93 comments
redheadgirlie
redheadgirlie

Romney managed to discredit himself and bring shame to the country during his campaign trips to London and Israel. What right does he have to be giving foreign policy advice:?

facebook-765058178
facebook-765058178

He is not a loser, but a liar, hypocrite, a shrewd business man who will do anything, will say anything to make tons of money.  He made a fool of himself in so many ways and the whole world laughs at him.  What a disgrace for my fellow Americans?   Where are your Tax returns Mr. Romney?  What are you hiding? 

Harry James
Harry James

Carl Lewis was right, some Americans should never leave the country. This just proving how a worrying amount of them are so out of touch with the rest of the world.

geordiegit
geordiegit

Loser? Without a doubt. Trying to be a man for all seasons shows desperation, and I can't believe U.S. voters will fall for it.

Obama SHOULD win by a landslide. If he does I hope he has the guts to introduce far harsher gun controls, plus other strong measures that previous presidents have shied away from. Then his legacy will be a good one.

Immir
Immir

Short answer, yes. He might give Bush a run for the money as "worst president ever" if America is dumb enough to elect him.

PrettyFNgood
PrettyFNgood

 Mitt-the Twit, that's a good one! I think that one'll stick. The mayor of London telling him, yeah, it's a lot easier to secure the Olympics when it's held in the middle of nowhere! (salt lake). Pandering at the Wailing Wall and a millionaire/billionaire personally guided tour in Israel is a new low. I'm glad the Polish people saw through his/gop agenda of union busting and out sourcing jobs to china.

Gop majority in Congress has completely crippled any recovery, that was the plan. They don't care about the country, they care about money and power! They got to go! We're only going to see a recovery when Democrats have both Houses in congress and the White House. Then we can start a recovery.

K3HY
K3HY

I wonder what excuse Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the Fox news zombies will use when Obama wins.

Will it be Acorn?

Will it be those scary Black Panthers at the polling places?

LOL

J diehl
J diehl

Two things - why and what is the point of a US candidate going to Europe?

Second - talk about loser - the American People with a faux president secretly supporting the Muslims. Romney would look better than what we have even if he was in a body cast.

MACDONALDBANK
MACDONALDBANK

Mormons are nothing more than homophobic

bigots and lustful religious lunatics; who harvested women … attempting to scrutinize themselves; into eternity – without

success!

MACDONALDBANK
MACDONALDBANK

What a wonderful day for The

Honourable President of the United States of America ... Barrack Obama!

The

Republican Party; have now … officially -- self-destructed  -- on the grounds of homophobia amp;

religious corruption!

Someone left the door

of the asylum ajar -- the religious extremists are loose amp; they are all in

the Republican Party!  

Religion; is the biggest bully on the

block!

JDinHouston
JDinHouston

Most of us in America are asking the same question as Europe. 

Neil E. Lynch
Neil E. Lynch

There once was a time the Time  publications were objective.  There once was a time Time readers were relatively savvy.

This article and blog are better suited for a scene from Idiocracy.

That bloggers here cite Borat certainly reinforces my suspicion of what intellectual level this blog had attracted.

Paul J. Citro
Paul J. Citro

TIME has their head up Obummer's a--. Anything to make that moron in the WH look good. Obummer gaffs  every time he's off the promoter.

Steven Janiszewski
Steven Janiszewski

Mitt "Cyborg" Romney is

a puppet of the spiritual power behind the Mormon Church, who intends

to buy the White House and put his cyborg puppet in it. But Mitt

doesn't want to be president. His saying dumb things and not

releasing his tax returns are just a few of Mitt's ways of fighting,

trying to thwart the spiritual power's plan. To gain an existential

understanding of the cult that produced Mitt "Cyborg"

Romney, and to get your socks scared off, read The

Assassination of Spiro Agnew, available

at:

www.amazon.com/Assassination-S...

Its brown-eyed, part-Mexican Mormon assassin dramatizes the Mormon

superiority complex manifesting as jingoism and an anti-federal

government temperament. His research in the new library reveals

ominous similarities between Islam and Mormonism. The spiritual

power behind the cult, which is not the Holy Ghost, acts out.

“With a clarity of language and vision unsurpassed in

contemporary American prose, Steven Janiszewski's Assassination

of Spiro Agnew takes us into a U.S. mazed with madness and

Mormonism and all things Utah, a U.S. that was then and still is. Do

we need a novel, even as brilliant as this one, about a young man on

a divine mission to assassinate the Vice President because he is too

liberal? Yes, now more than ever. Readers, welcome to a

masterpiece.”

Tom Whalen

www.tomwhalen.com

Read The Assassination

of Spiro Agnew.

 

Gary Johnson
Gary Johnson

it's going to be an all out comedy show watching  Willard Palin flip-flopping and blubbering trough the next couple of months watching him get the BBC up his behind in the debates and lose in total shame and humiliation - karma for all the poor people he walked on the 10+ years of taxes he didn't pay the war he dodged and the soldiers he's insulted by lying

harvey_conn
harvey_conn

The answer to that question is: YES, but a loser with giant bank accounts in other countries.

SixSixSix
SixSixSix

I think there is a temptation to over analyze the detailed impact of WMR's attempt at Innocence Abroad. Will this particular thing be remember, or will that group be happy or not, is largely irrelevant. But the trip as a whole is not.

This is the period where Romney gets "defined" to use that brand marketing term. So far Obama has slammed him as treacherous on the economy and in his personal dealings to a great number of people. Romney by way of this trip defined himself as not ready for Head of State, one of the three core functions of the Presidency along with Commander in Chief and Chief Executive Office of the United States. That may not be a fatal failure, but it is a bad one. The fact that people won't remember the details will make it all the harder for Romney to turn the image around.

wandmdave
wandmdave

Romney's entire plan was to stoke the persecution complex on the right and it was executed masterfully.

Marie Bano
Marie Bano

The scariest thing about Romneys trip was Adelson. We know Mitt is a bumbling, fool but to know he is in the pocket of Neocon billionaires is even worse. Mitt is a warmongering puppet and we have had enough of that agenda.

Triston Song
Triston Song

mitt just can't catch a break no matter how he tried. when he acts his old self-he is aloof, no humor n a rich guy who knows nothing of the problems of the middle class-- he acts as your next door neighbor, no one believes him. from "dog on the roof' to "bain" to "off-shore accounts" to gaffes" , he has no credibility and even if he stands on his head--he WILL not be president material.  Obama is the luckiest guy on earth to draw mitt as his competitor.

Spider's Web
Spider's Web

What Europeans think shouldn't matter but let's remember, if elected, Romney will have to work with these people. Europe right now is a continent engaging in the Conservative Option of austerity to navigate the troubled economic waters with the predictable social tumult. He couldn't have riled amp; insulted more people if he had tried! How do you manage to both offend Israelis amp; Palestinians at the same time?! :-o

Romney right now reminds me of a dog chasing its own tail! Every time he puts himself out there, he has to retract or obfuscate or claim he was misunderstood by a biased media. All the SuperPAC money in the world can't make Mittens a polished national candidate! Let's hope the voter suppression Jim Crow laws do better! ;-)

PNik
PNik

Don't worry! "We Europeans" both follow US media and have long since stopped trying to understand why Republican voters actually vote for their party, it's not like their policies actually benefit the majority of those voters... 

Anyhow, Mitt's European tour was, I think, mostly met with a big yawn over here. He acted pretty much as expected.

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

Republicans should nominate someone smarter than Willard.  I wonder if Rick Perry is still available.

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

I don't even know why everyone is so excited about what Europe thinks.  The good news is that they are not electing a president for us. Considering their horrible economies and the fact that they are using austerity measures to "stimulate" their economy, tells me Europe is a joke. I just hope that their mismanagement does not get worse and affect us adversely.

I don't care for a Romney presidency, and I think it is because of the unsupportable connection he is seeking to make between Bain and his past experience being some sort of magical way to save America.

We never learn do we? We elected Obama expecting him to be a Messiah and after a brief shot, now we have the anything but Obama cries. Its all nonsense.

I want Obama to articulate a plan for the future. Call me old fashioned but I never thought Obama was some Messiah and did not think he was going to do something miraculous. In 8 years Bush created 3 million jobs. Clinton created 23 million in 8 years. We had over 11 trillion dollars in deficit under Bush and the surplus Clinton had left behind, surplus created with the help of Gingrich BTW) was drained under Bush.

Yet, some people thought all the mismanagement would magically vanish under Obama????? How realistic was that?

 Now, we are caught up in the feverish politicking of lies and misrepresentation as usual and inundated with the "You did not build that nonsense. . I think he needs another term but I am waiting to hear more from him.

As for Romney, all I can say is  " Just what Bush famously tried to say". In MA, you told us the same thing you are saying now--- Fool me once, shame on me... and what else Bush said.. :)

I will not fall for that line again. We were roasted in MA even though the economy all over the country was doing well, despite all the Bain and business connections Romney claimed would make a difference, he was awful.

We did not have a chance to vote Romney out because he did not run again. Well, in MA this time, he aint getting our vote.

http://blackrepublicanandmywor...

Marcus Taylor
Marcus Taylor

Here's the comment that I like the best ... Prof. Paul Krugman states ... "Is it possible that I have misjudged Mitt Romney? My take has always been that he’s a smart guy who also happens to be both ambitious and completely amoral; ... however, he has been coming out with statements suggesting that he is, in fact, a dangerous fool."

Second runner-up ... "This is a man without a core, a man without substance, a man that will say anything to become president of the United States." ~ Rudy Giuliani uttered these words about Romney

Where's my Popcorn, the Republicans are looking at a "Brokered Convention".

Philip Harris
Philip Harris

These were barely even gaffes. Tens of thousands of security troops at the Olympics wouldn't be a little"disconcerting" to anyone? Please. Cultural differences don't at all explain why absolutely no one reading this would rather live in Arab territories than Jewish? Again, quit fooling yourself libs. This is just a hyper-partisan media attacking Romney over comments that have absolutely nothing to do with Romney's character or his presumed Presidential policies. But the more the media talks about meaningless crap like this, the less they talk about Obama's horrible job on the economy. There are 50 million people on food stamps. Let's talk about what Romney would do about that, not blowing everything he says out of proportion or bringing up digging up dirt on kids he bullied 50 years ago. The poor and unemployed deserve better.

max4374
max4374

If the old adage of measuring one man's worth by the quality of his opponents holds true, is there a lesson somewhere in Romney's victory in the primaries? 

From the last thirty two years I cannot remember such a miserable lineup as that.  Excluding a couple of candidates, all I could think of was, Jesus! Really?!  But then again, I always forget the other adage: when performing, play to the audience.  And what a miserable audience it was.  And is. I guess Romney forgot that. He expected the Europeans to be the same. 

There is another adage in there, somewhere. 

max4374
max4374

I find it interesting that other than the second Bush, every republican president since Nixon was rejected by their own party at least once in another election.  But come to think about it, Bush himself might (and I very well could be wrong) turn out to be thought of as one of the worst presidents ever.   I wonder how does that reflect on Romney.

max4374
max4374

I think I prefer the embarrassment of our president getting the Nobel Peace prize even if he did not deserve it, over the embarrassment of Romney for his ignorance, which I suppose reflects on how a lot of us deserve it for supporting him.

chrisk2000
chrisk2000

Two main problems with Romney:

1) He was used to being the CEO surrounded by Yes men. And he was used to being rude and blunt and people tolerating it

2) He has no political conviction or a sense of history or politics. He is a businessman, a number crunching one at that. He was pro-gay marriage, pro-choice, pro gun control, pro mandated healthcare etc etc just a few years back, when he was in his 50s !!

It will be a miracle if he even wins 45% of the national vote in November

kjs2412
kjs2412

it be the Socialis under the bed.

Mary
Mary

You do know Obama has killed more Muslim terrorist than any President EVER, right?

When was the last time you heard a code red/code orange warning?

Mary
Mary

Obama has killed more "Muslim" terrorists than any President. EVER.

Tell me this. When the last time you heard a code red/code orange terrorist warning?

Honest to God, fox/rush/beck etc is rotting your brain.

kbmharper
kbmharper

So, objectively explain to us how Mitt's actions are not as idiotic as Borat's? If knowing pop culture questions my intellect, have at it.

By the way, if you understood the reference to Borat, your intellectual level should be questioned as well.

William Lee Barnes
William Lee Barnes

I liked your commentary. Keep it up. We don't have much time left to warn some "whatever" Americans about what they're getting into, trying to put this lunatic in the presidency. 

William Lee Barnes
William Lee Barnes

So why does Mitt have so many followers? This is extremely scary. Are THAT many Americans so naive, stupid, NRA fanatics, etc.?

Mike Poole
Mike Poole

Europeans are major idiots...republicans rule baby!

BlindsidedOnce
BlindsidedOnce

Perhaps it would be better if we could elect a president for you. You guys don't seem capable of coming up with a decent one.

Sue Abbott
Sue Abbott

maybe there are 50 million people on food stamps because the last republican decided to spend untold billions on useless wars/weapons instead of our own people/businesses.  the poor and unemployed are there BECAUSE of republican policies over the past 10 years, not in spite of it.  or maybe the top 1% don't really care much anyway.  and let's see you save the economy in 2 years with all the obstructionist behavior in your way.  i think he's doing pretty good, considering.  now if the ignorant would just shut up and learn some facts instead, we'd all be better off.

JDinHouston
JDinHouston

 Romney campaigned for senator saying he would be more liberal on social issues than Ted Kennedy. Now, Romney says he is "severely conservative" to Evangelicals. Gee Romney, pander much? I find it laughable the Republicans are backing this chameleon.

cgallaway2000
cgallaway2000

1) He's not running as a democrat

2) He's not a woman

3) He's white

4) He's rich...money always attracts a following. Imagine how many followers he would have for his platform if he wasn't a successful money maker.

PrettyFNgood
PrettyFNgood

 That statement is not even worthy of a comment. Turn off the radio and read a newspaper please.

Rob Westbrook
Rob Westbrook

As an American living in Europe for 11 years, I can assure you that you are wrong. In fact, Republicans are regarded here as being the most primitive types in the modern world, completely devoid of any traces of civilization. Europeans are also far better educated than the average American and CERTAINLY better educated than recipients of diplomas issued in red states. Mike, when you make comments like you have, you are akin to a chimpanzee being watched by humans in the zoo. You think you are clever, but we know the truth.

William Lee Barnes
William Lee Barnes

OK, slight taken. If you guys weren't in such bad shape I'd even take off my hat for your commentary. BUT...Half of us have our heads screwed on right and we're trying to keep Mitt OUT! You guys keep it up, too with your EURO ZONE problem (if you're not UK). We'll find a way out of it. The world, through, it's problems, will bring us all together to find peace, if , and when, our social evolution permits.

Philip Harris
Philip Harris

You are right, the ignorant should learn some facts, including you. This hyper-partisan "everything is Bush's fault" is a huge part of the problem. I don't disagree that Bush carries a ton of blame, but don't the unemployed deserve better than to hear "sure Obama's not great, but he's better than Bush" anytime anyone says anything critical of Obama (or in this case, anything in defense of Romney)?  Is the bar really that low? Obama had 2 years of a Democratic majority in the House and Senate to put into place policies that would be positively affecting the economy right now. Where's the recovery? By the time O's 4 years are up unemployment will probably still be higher than when Bush left office. You're going to tell me he couldn't do anything more? He has not met with his jobs council in over 6 months, but has probably done somewhere between 50-150 fundraisers and played countless rounds of golf during that time. Are you ok with that? It's fine if you don't like Romney, but why do we demand so little of Obama? The more the media brings up meaningless crap like where Romney put his dog on a  family vacation 20 years ago, the less time we compare/contrast economic policies. And again, the more we talk about meaningless crap, the more we are letting down the unemployed and poverty stricken.

Philip Harris
Philip Harris

 Sigh, yes the infamous filibuster. I can see trying to reason with an "all republicans are evil" person is impossible in an online comments section. Its the job of congress to make spending bills, Mary. They have sent plenty to Obama, none of which he signed, and many of which mirror suggestions made by his own jobs council. At what point does he become the "obstructionist?" And KB, everything I said is fairly common knowledge, although I wouldn't be surprised if its news to the average Obama supporter.

http://cnsnews.com/news/articl...

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-50...

kbmharper
kbmharper

I notice you did not cite any of your information. Are you presenting  facts or your opinion?

Mary
Mary

Filibuster.