The Boston Globe: “Mitt Romney offered his unvarnished take of the challenges of holding the Olympics - and touched off criticism in the British press [yesterday] and an apparent jab from Prime Minister David Cameron.”
Romney told NBC’s Brian Williams: “It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out. There are a few things that were disconcerting: the stories about the private security firm not having enough people, supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging.”
The Globe: “In response, the Daily Mail Online carried a headline, ‘Who invited him? US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney questions British public’s appetite for the Games during visit to London.’”
And then the zinger from Cameron: “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.” The Globe adds, “which was interpreted as a reference to Salt Lake City and Utah.”
The Daily Mail: “'Devoid of charm, offensive and a wazzock': Romney's disastrous day in London after saying he didn't know if Olympics would be a success.”
It writes: “[A]fter a series of gaffes, Mr Romney has been on the sharp end of a series of tongue-lashings from the press, government officials and even leading politicians. The Republican's most damaging blunder came when he questioned whether his hosts would be able to make a success of the Games, saying: 'It's hard to know just how well it will turn out.'”
The Telegraph: “The Daily Telegraph's Lucy Jones branded him a 'wazzock' (which the Urban Dictionary defines as 'an idiot or daft person') after the candidate questioned Britain's desire to host the Games. She said: 'Who does Mitt Romney think he is? I feel a glimmer of protectiveness and pride... there's one thing Romney could learn while he's in Britain this week: some manners.' Nicholas Watt, from the Guardian, tweeted of his U-turn: 'Mitt Romney rowing back like mad on Olympics: Now says outside No 10 games to be a great success.' Meanwhile, Paul Harris said: 'Good old Mitt. His charm offensive in the UK failed to be charming, but he really pulled off the offensive bit #gop #romney.'
And: “On Twitter, users have been attacking Mr Romney deploying hashtags such as #Romneyshambles and #Mitthitsthefan.”
Political Wire: “The Guardian: ‘From criticising the biggest sporting event Britain has held in over 40 years, to 'looking out of the backside of 10 Downing Street', Mitt Romney's first foreign trip of his presidential candidacy hasn't gone quite as well as he might have hoped. As the former Massachusetts governor continues to gaffe his way across London, here's a round-up of Romney's red-facers. So far.’”
And: “Mitt Romney has already been slapped by British Prime Minister David Cameron for suggesting that Britain may not be ready to host the Olympics, but Josh Rogin points out it's not the first time he's said unflattering things about the country,” Political Wire writes. Romney wrote, in his book, No Apology: “ ‘England is just a small island. Its roads and houses are small. With few exceptions, it doesn't make things that people in the rest of the world want to buy. And if it hadn't been separated from the continent by water, it almost certainly would have been lost to Hitler's ambitions.’”
The New York Daily News: “Mitt Romney walks back comments on Olympic troubles as he kicks off UK visit.” The News: “The comments got wide attention in England, with major newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph splashing his critique on their websites. On Thursday, Romney struck a more optimistic tone.”
But still this wasn’t all that positive: “My experience with regards to the Olympics is it is impossible for absolutely no mistakes to occur,” he said during a joint appearance at Parliament with Labor leader Ed Miliband, according to Politico.
"Of course there will be errors from time to time, but those are all overshadowed by the extraordinary demonstrations of courage, character and determination by the athletes," he continued. “And as soon as the sporting events begin, we all forget the organizers and focus on the athletes.”
The Telegraph: “The two men are said to have got on well during their talks, despite the barbed rebuke Mr Cameron delivered beforehand when to comment on Mr Romney’s concerns about the capital’s preparedness for the Games.”
In another Daily News piece: “At this rate, Mitt Romney may provoke an international incident with the United Kingdom by the weekend. Romney’s high-profile visit to Great Britain continued to be plagued with gaffes Thursday, as the Republican candidate’s error-prone appearances culminated in nearly 60,000 Londoners jeering the mention of his name. London mayor Boris Johnson, in a pre-Games rally in Hyde Park, revved up the masses by invoking the GOP candidate, who ran the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and questioned whether London was prepared. ‘There’s a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know if London is ready,’ Johnson cried to the tens of thousands gathered in the famous park. ‘Are we ready?’”
And: “ ‘The opening ceremonies aren’t until Friday, but Romney is already in medal contention for the gaffe-cathlon,’ a Republican political strategist in amazement.”
There was also this: “An assortment of Olympic memorabilia – including a collector’s pin bearing Mitt Romney’s smiling face – was made in China for the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City run by the current Republican presidential candidate,” the New York Daily News writes.
Did you get that he approved of pins made with his likeness for the 2002 games? “Fraser Bullock, Romney's top deputy at the Olympics, told NPR a previous interview that the pins weren’t Romney’s idea. ‘Mitt could care less whether his face is on a pin or not,’ Bullock said. ‘It became a very popular pin and generated revenue for the organizing committee, and that's where he was coming from.’”
From Michael Kranish’s book (which BuzzFeed and Political Wire picked up on yesterday: Ken Bullock, a member of the organizing committee’s board “was among those bemused by Romney’s efforts to promote himself, which seemed to run against the grain of his buttoned-down business persona. Romney became the first Olympics executive to approve a series of commemorative pins bearing his likeness. One pin depicted his fact under a heart with the words: ‘HEY MITT … WE LOVE YOU!’”
“He tried very hard to build an image of himself as a savior, the great white hope,” Bullock said of Romney. “He was very good at characterizing and castigating people and putting himself on a pedestal.”
“Mitt Romney on Thursday continued to pound President Obama for a quote about entrepreneurs – ‘If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that’ -- as a new Gallup poll found Obama is out of favor with nearly six in 10 business owners,” the Boston Globe reports. “The Romney campaign on Thursday unveiled a new page on its website called ‘Built by Us’ which features video testimonies of business owners who say they resent Obama’s suggestion that they owe some of their success to government.