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Friday, 27 July 2012 04:00

Romney Rebuked by British PM for Mitt's Gaffe-Gate in London

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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Reportedly, Mitt Romney made so many offensive comments in London that one paper posted a list of his top ten gaffes. The Vancouver Sun of Canada headlined a story, "Team Romney earns gaffe gold in Britain: Criticism of Olympics rankles British PM, while one blog Tweets Romney 'kind of like Mr. Bean.'"

A Daily Mail UK reporter also tweeted that Whitehall sources called Romney's performance "worse than Sarah Palin" and a "total car crash."

It was one diplomatic pratfall after another for the man who would be president, and on his heralded foreign policy debut tour as candidate for the White House.

You might count the Romney campaign aide's comment that Mitt would have closer ties with the UK because he understood the Anglo-Saxon bond between the two nations, well you might argue that was a calculated dog whistle to racists - and it probably was.

That statement was more offensive to the image of the US than to the UK per se, and an indication that Romney is going full tilt for the birther Tea Party vote by emphasizing that he is the "white guy" in the race, as if we didn't already know that. But bonding the right wing through bigotry against the color of one's skin helps to get racists to overlook their aversion to Romney being a dutiful Mormon.

Beyond the "look at Mitt, he's white" comment of a senior adviser, Romney's own statements in London were one pratfall of foreign policy blunders after another. Even CBS news ran a story that is headlined, "British papers blast Mitt Romney."

Let's go over a few of the insulting remarks. Romney criticized the British for not being ready for the 2012 Olympics. This so infuriated many residents of the UK that the Tory Party Prime Minister (read Republican counterpart in Britain) snidely rebuffed Romney, as reported by the Associated Press and around the world:

"Mitt the Twit" screamed Friday's headline in The Sun, which just days ago was trumpeting an embarrassing incident in which an official bus carrying the U.S. team from Heathrow airport got lost and spent hours in traffic.

"Who invited party-pooper Romney?" asked the Daily Mail.

"Nowhere Man" declared the more reserved Times of London, a reference to a biting comment by the famously diplomatic Cameron, who implied that Romney lacked the experience to offer advice to one of the world's great capitals since the Olympics he helped organize in Salt Lake City, Utah, took place "in the middle of nowhere."

"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," Cameron said.

Colorful London Mayor Boris Johnson also got in on the act, using Romney's criticism as a rallying cry to stoke up a crowd of tens of thousands gathered at Hyde Park on Thursday night: "There's a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know if we are ready. Are we ready? Yes, we are!"

Then Romney, whose campaign has been using the limp meme that classified information is leaking like a sieve under Obama, bragged that he had held a meeting with the head of MI6 (the CIA of the UK). This is a no-no in terms of UK intelligence protocol. As the Washington Post called it, "Romney flubs, tells press of secret MI6 meeting."

If he couldn't be more tone deaf, Romney held a couple of London fundraisers in the "epicenter" of the Barclays' Libor scandal, with heavy Barclays' management participation:

Why controversial? Because the events were designed to raise money from donors in London's scandal-scarred banking and finance industry, the epicenter of the LIBOR interest rate fixing scandal.

One of the fundraisers was originally supposed to be hosted by Bob Diamond, the chief executive of Barclays - until Diamond pulled out following his resignation from the company, which paid more than $450 million for allegedly trying to manipulate the interbank interest rate. The Washington Post reported that one of the co-chairs of the fundraiser, Barclay's lobbyist Patrick Durkin, has helped raise more than $1 million for Romney.

In response to Romney's fundraisers, a group of British lawmakers called on "Barclays and its executives to cease fundraising for political candidates immediately and to concentrate entirely on repairing confidence and trust in the banking system instead." The liberal advocacy group Americans United for Change, meanwhile, released a web video saying that "Big banks write checks for Romney so they can write their own rules."

At the first fundraising event, Romney said he isn't opposed to all regulation of banks - but he does believe the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill passed in response to the 2008 economic meltdown was bad legislation that should be repealed.

Offending government leaders on a bi-partisan basis, Romney reportedly couldn't remember the name of the leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband.

Yes, there were more faux-pas statements in London by the presumptive GOP candidate for president than you could shake a stick at.

Maybe it would have been better to have Ann Romney's Olympic horse doing the rounds with diplomats in the UK than her husband Mitt. Even Mr. Ed could have done a better job.