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.
Wednesday: PBO will deliver remarks in the Washington, DC area, where he will continue to call on Congress to act on a “To Do List” that will create jobs and help restore middle class security. Also on Wednesday, the President will award Specialist Leslie H. Sabo, Jr., U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. The First Lady will also attend.
Thursday: PBO will attend meetings at the White House.
Friday: PBO will deliver the opening keynote to the Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC. Later on Friday, the President will travel to Camp David for the G-8 Summit, which will address a broad range of economic, political and security issues. The President will remain overnight at Camp David.
Saturday: PBO will remain at Camp David for the G-8 Summit. Later on Saturday, the President will travel to Chicago where he will welcome NATO allies and partners to his hometown for the NATO Summit on May 20-21. The First Lady will travel to Chicago with the President.
Time: President Obama dismissed Republican rival Mitt Romney’s critiques of his foreign policy credentials in an exclusive TIME interview, saying the GOP frontrunner’s attacks are little more than primary posturing that will wither under the glare of “a serious debate.”
“I think Mr. Romney and the rest of the Republican field are going to be playing to their base until the primary season is over,” Obama told TIME’s Fareed Zakaria during a White House interview that will appear in the next issue of TIME magazine. “Overall, I think it’s going to be pretty hard to argue that we have not executed a strategy over the last three years that has put America in a stronger position than it was than when I came into office.”
ABC: Although it is not apparent on his financial disclosure form, Mitt Romney has millions of dollars of his personal wealth in investment funds set up in the Cayman Islands, a notorious Caribbean tax haven.
…… As the race for the Republican nomination heats up, Mitt Romney is finding it increasingly difficult to maintain a shroud of secrecy around the details about his vast personal wealth, including, as ABC News has discovered, his investment in funds located offshore and his ability to pay a lower tax rate.
Greg Sargent: …. Take special note of the quote that one expert gave to ABC: “His personal finances are a poster child of what’s wrong with the American tax system.” …. this is very dicey for Romney. Dems want to paint Romney as the walking embodiment of everything that’s unfair about our tax system and of all the ways the system is rigged on behalf of the rich and against the middle class. This won’t hurt that case.
One wonders if these revelations – combined with the layoffs at Bain; Romney’s tax rate; the fact that his tax plan would give the very wealthy enormous tax cuts while raising taxes marginally on lower income people; and his penchant for saying things that perfectly feed the “one percent” storyline – will generate any concerns among Romney’s top backers about his electability.
Media Matters: The Washington Examiner blog Beltway Confidential put up a post yesterday reporting that President Obama’s acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, Jeffrey Zients, worked at Bain & Company in the late 1980s. The Examiner suggested that this could “undercut attacks on Republican Mitt Romney’s career as a venture capitalist, because Zients and Romney are both alumni of Bain & Company.”
……. The criticism of Romney has focused on his work at Bain Capital, not his time at Bain & Company.
To be clear: Bain & Company is an entirely separate entity from Bain Capital …. The Drudge Report linked to the Beltway Confidential post with the headline “OBAMA PICKS BAIN MAN FOR OMB…”:
ThinkProgress: Samantha Garvey, a New York high school senior who has been living in a homeless shelter and recently named a semi-finalist in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search competition, will be Rep. Steve Israel’s (D-NY) guest at President Obama’s State of the Union address next Tuesday.
…. Israel told Newsday he was moved by Garvey’s story. “The State of the Union attracts the most powerful people on Earth, but I really think Samantha can teach them all a lesson in perseverance,” he said.
More: …. Michelle Obama is one of those people you sense before you see, her confidence somehow arriving on the scene a few seconds before she does. Even a roomful of antsy teenagers can feel it, leading them to fall silent moments before the first lady strides into the State Dining Room and greets them with a friendly “Hey! What’s happening?”
…. “They call me FLOTUS, for first lady of the United States,” she explains, noting that the president’s internal White House acronym is POTUS. “And there are many times when FLOTUS and POTUS feel like characters.” There have even been times, she says, when she’s craned her own neck to see which celebrity might be causing all the excitement. “And it’s me. Oh, man, it’s FLOTUS. FLOTUS is here. No one told me FLOTUS was coming.”
….. “But sometimes,” Obama tells her class of mentees, “I just want to be Michelle. So you guys have to start slowly seeing me as Michelle, all right?”
I never expected an easy ride for this President. No doubt, he is a different kind of leader. His problem is not that he is controversial, but that he is so insistent upon values that define what is best about our traditions and our history.
How often have we heard him exclaim “that’s who we are” as Americans when speaking of the mutualism of citizenship. He will cite “E pluribus unum” to celebrate equal rights and equal opportunity as well as responsibility for one another. He will insist that we are indeed “our brother’s and our sister’s keeper”. That’s not just a phrase for him, that’s a core belief.
With that in mind, of course he will be the President of all the people all the time. He will treat all citizens with the same unfailing civility and regard, including those who do not respond in kind.
He will take pains to understand the points of view he does not share, not because he is lacking conviction, but because he will always attempt to find some common ground as a base for discussion and negotiation.
The outcome of such negotiations must always meet the test of “who we are”. Or, in the case of the arrogant dismissal of such things as the Geneva convention, he will say “that’s NOT who we are” and insist upon making our actions match our values.
There are those who dismiss this as “elitism” or as somehow ill-conceived and unrealistic, but it is this same clear evidence of character that people value most about this greatest of all Presidents. And that will prevail over all self-centered political grandstanding and furor, over envy, racism and contempt because all of those manifestations fail the test of “who we are”.
Greg Sargent (Washington Post): Here’s why the supercommittee is failing, in one sentence: Democrats wanted the rich to pay more in taxes towards deficit reduction, and Republicans wanted the rich to pay less in taxes towards deficit reduction.
Any news outlet that doesn’t convey this basic fact to readers and viewers with total clarity is obscuring, rather than illuminating, what actually happened here.
Paul Begala: What’s next? The Santorum Surge? The Huntsman Hiccup? Why Newt Gingrich would be a godsend to the Democrats.
…. More likely the Gingrich surge is just the latest Republican tulip craze …. with Newt simply serving as the latest vessel for the ABR movement: Anybody But Romney.
….. like MacArthur, Newt has returned. I, for one, could not be happier – but then again, I’m a Democrat, so I have to take my political pleasures where I can find them….
…. I fear the dream won’t last, alas. At some point Republicans will wise up and nominate the zillionaire layoff artist with the square jaw and the Slinky spine. But I’ve been saying that all year, and I’ve been wrong all year.
I really can’t imagine how it must pain Mitt Romney …. What does the guy have to do to win? He’s changed so many of his deeply held convictions that he’s reduced to bragging that he hasn’t changed wives or religions. Newt has changed wives and religions, and the base still likes him better than Romney….