The Guardian: Mitt Romney’s campaign is scrambling to limit the damage from his gaffe-strewn visit to London – which has drawn mocking put-downs from the city’s mayor and the British prime minister, and “Mitt the twit” headlines in the UK – by saying that Americans don’t care what the foreign press prints.
But the attempt to downplay the debacle made little headway in the face of a barrage of critical coverage in the US, which portrayed the Republican presidential candidate as incompetent and undiplomatic, and stinging criticism from American Olympic legend Carl Lewis, who suggested that Romney should not be allowed to travel abroad.
…. The New York Daily News called Romney’s visit to the UK “flub-filled”. “At this rate, Mitt Romney may provoke an international incident with the United Kingdom by the weekend,” it said.
…. Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, …. said the near farce of Romney’s trip will reinforce doubts in the minds of some voters about his fitness for the presidency.
“The image is somewhat that he’s not ready for prime time. It’s London for God’s sakes. You have to try to mess up a foreign debut in Great Britain if you’re an American candidate for president. It looks terrible. He was a gaffe machine. It wasn’t just a single gaffe. Every time he opened his mouth he created another gaffe,” he said.
NYT: …. Mr. Romney has misspoken before, despite his highly disciplined, analytical and cautious campaign. But it may be the very consultant-cool personality of his campaign that has helped propel Mr. Romney’s Olympic-size gaffe.
…. The aftermath was swift and vicious, with the British press devouring Mr. Romney like a pile of mushy peas. His campaign was slow and flat-footed in recognizing it had a problem, and unable to improvise a quick response.
Instead, staff members were forced to watch as David Cameron, the British prime minister, offered a tart and public rebuke on Thursday. “Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere,” Mr. Cameron said, an obvious allusion to the Games Mr. Romney oversaw in Salt Lake City.
Afterward, the campaign said that Mr. Romney had misspoken because he was tired and jet-lagged… Two British television networks led with the gaffe on their nightly broadcasts (a third ran it second), and Mr. Romney awoke to British headlines proclaiming him a “party-pooper” and “Mitt the Twit.”
Washington Post: Mitt Romney’s Friday was better than his Thursday. He did very little.
…. Romney’s missteps have drawn extensive mockery in Britain and public consternation from both Republicans and Democrats in the United States, and his campaign advisers were at a loss Friday to put a positive spin on the story — other than to look ahead to the next two stops on his tour.
…. As a result, there is now immense pressure on him to find better footing in Israel and Poland…
… in the absence of any new biographical narrative or policy pronouncements, the media coverage of Romney’s trip has centered on his Olympics gaffe — and the result has been brutal for the candidate.
Even some Republicans acknowledged the damage Romney’s comments had caused. “You have to sort of shake your head,” former George W. Bush strategist Karl Rove said Friday on Fox News. But Rove said he did not think it was “a big deal,” adding that Romney “walked it back adroitly, but nonetheless the damage was done.”
Gallup: While Republicans may look favorably on Romney’s visit to Israel, another group with keen interest in U.S.-Israeli relations — Jewish Americans — solidly backs Obama in the election.
Gallup Daily tracking from June 1-July 26 finds Jewish registered voters favoring Obama over Romney by 68% to 25%. That is essentially the same as Gallup’s prior update on Jewish voting preferences.
Although one goal of Romney’s Israel visit could be to attract greater support among Jewish voters in the U.S., Jewish Americans have been a traditionally strong Democratic group, so they are unlikely to become much more supportive of Romney regardless of the outcome of the trip.