Gibbs: Romney embarrassed the U.S. in London
July 29th, 2012
10:25 AM ET
6 years ago

Gibbs: Romney embarrassed the U.S. in London

(CNN) - Robert Gibbs, senior adviser to President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, argued Sunday that Mitt Romney's recent trip to London was an embarrassment.

"Mitt Romney wondered aloud whether London was ready for the Olympics, and I think it's clear that voters in this country wonder aloud whether Mitt Romney is ready for the world," Gibbs said on ABC's "This Week."

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The presumptive Republican nominee received an onslaught of negative headlines in the British press this week after he appeared to question London's "disconcerting" problems in gearing up for the Olympic Games.

Speaking with NBC News on Wednesday, Romney, who headed the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games, said at the time it was too early to tell if the London organizers were ready for the start of the competitions.

"You know it's hard to know just how well it will turn out," Romney said. "There are a few things that were disconcerting. The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials - that obviously is not something which is encouraging."

In the days that followed, Romney did not repeat his criticism but offered praise for the country.

Gibbs wasted no time Sunday morning going after Romney over the comment.

"To go overseas, stand in the country of our strongest ally–and the Olympics that they've been preparing years for–and question whether or not they're ready, does make you wonder whether or not he's ready to be commander in chief," the former White House press secretary said, later adding, "I thought it was embarrassing for our country."

Kevin Madden, a senior adviser to Romney's campaign, countered Gibbs' assertions on the same program, saying a "gaffe or YouTube moment" won't make or break the election.

"I think the headlines that come out of London on one day are not going to be as important as the overall view that people take when it comes to our economic prosperity here at home, and then our safety and security around the globe," Madden said.

Hitting back, Gibbs piled on: "I would probably give that answer too if I hadn't flown to London and embarrassed myself in front of our strongest ally in the world."

Romney on Saturday departed the United Kingdom for Israel, where he's meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, along with delivering a major foreign policy speech.

Dan Senor, Romney's foreign policy adviser, told the traveling press corps Sunday morning that if Israel decided to strike Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program after exhausting all diplomatic options, Romney would "respect" the Jewish state's decision.

Asked Sunday if the president held the same position, Gibbs said Israel "of course" has a right to defend itself.

"The president's position, which he's been clear about for more than three and a half years, is obviously any country–and Israel certainly does–have the right to defend itself and defend its citizens. We have never taken any option off the table in dealing with the nuclear program in Iran," Gibbs said.

He pointed to the president's signing of a bill Friday designed to increase security ties with the Jewish state.

"This president has had the strongest commitment of any U.S. president to Israel's security," Gibbs said.

Madden, however, said the president's actions in handling the U.S.-Israel relationship have been lagging since he took office.

"I think that there are many folks up on Capitol Hill who've worked with this administration that believe that and wish that the president had been stronger, that he had moved quicker, that he had done so with a much more collaborative fashion up on Capitol Hill," Madden said.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Robert Gibbs
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. rla

    Obama has been an embarassment since he left the Israle president sitting to go to dinner....

    July 29, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  2. Carlos

    so much fuss about a few words.

    July 29, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. Freddie

    If Mitt would like a list of future mistakes from which to choose during the next few months, I would gladly provide it.

    July 29, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  4. DaveinDenver

    Romney made a comment about the British being ready for the Olympics which the media has been asking all along, reporting issues with not having enough security in place. How what he said different than what the media in England has been doing for the past several weeks. The only difference is that iits coming from someone the liberals don't like. At least he isn't destroying our economy like Obama is.

    July 29, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  5. JustPlainJoe

    All this political noise continues to detract from the issues at hand. Neither candidate is addressing the primary issue that concerns most voters. HOW can the government return to normal functioning and compromise. Enough of this ideologic posturing. Get on with governing! Especially in these difficult times.

    July 29, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  6. A citizen

    Gibbs is hardly an impartial viewer, and has no idea of what he is talking about Romney did fine, i have lots of friends in the UK who thought he was right on, and agreed with him. The liberal media keeps trying to cut down a clearly superior man of integrity and character, Romney, and tries to force a joke and a embarassment of a lousy president whose wife is now more embarassing trying to grab media attention in London ...i am very eager to get a real president soon.

    July 29, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  7. Sandra

    Showing concern for the safety of our athletes as a future President should do. More disturbing was Obama's statements towards small business owners of the USA the other day.

    July 29, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  8. Keeping it Real

    Gibbs has embarrassed the US by trying to make this more than what it is. I'm very disappointed in Obama with his campaign commercials during the Olympics airtime. It shows a lack of class and leadership.

    July 29, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. rick

    gibbs is a political hack and member of the famous chicago thuggery. No self-respecting "NEWSPAPER" would quote him....

    July 29, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  10. chuck weidemann

    Bottom line Obama has the style and grace to be a good diplomat Romney not so much.....typical methodical,cut from one mold company man doing as instructed....that's just who he is!!!!

    July 29, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  11. Randy Hamrick least so far..........Romney has "BOWED" to any other nations leader!
    At least he IS stating what he plans to do about important Issues...........
    They maybe campaign promises........and Obama has given us first hand......what to expect from campaign promises!

    July 29, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  12. NameAnt

    Obama is the worst. How much worse can Mitt be?

    July 29, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  13. Joe

    Hey at least Romney showed up to support the athletes i think Obama is one of the very few presidents to not show up at the opening ceremonies .

    July 29, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  14. KToll9

    Because giving the Queen of England an ipod for a gift is soooo much more dignified.

    July 29, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  15. Bill

    I prefer someone hi is a straight shooter

    July 29, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. J.J.

    Such much fuss for nothing! We are more concerned about the rising of poverty in U.S. Jobs, jobs and jobs!

    July 29, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  17. Walt

    Of course Gibbs would say that! It's hardly news worthy. Remember Obama talking to the Queen while the English anthem was being played? Main stream Media just doing there part to be the Administrations mouth piece.

    July 29, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  18. Karen

    NO, he did not embarrase the United States. Gibbs is another obama moron.

    July 29, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  19. Sue

    Romney is the embarrassment? Remember when Obama, Michelle, and "Oprah" jet-setted across the world, in order to beg for the olympics to be held in Chicago? Remember Obama giving the Queen of England an I-pod preloaded with all of his own speeches as a gift? Remember Michelle/Obama giving the Queen an "atta boy" pat on the back when they met her, yet bowing/groveling for the Saudi Prince? Remember when Obama gave the bust of Winston Churchill back to the Brits? Remember when Obama was given the Nobel Peace Prize for "nothing"? Reagan ended the cold war, no Nobel Peace Prize. Obama does "nothing" and gets Nobel Peace Prize.

    July 29, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  20. moatfrog

    An embarrassment is something more aptly defined by the eye of the beholder; an embarrassment to one need not necessarily be an embarrassment to the other. Indeed, an adviser to the president most assuredly uses the word to glorify himself in the eyes of an administration he is a member of - as in a big "duh!" The word embarrassment is more likely to be used by a snobbish culture known for its complaining about most anything - especially when foreign dignitaries visit their land. The real truth regarding what was mentioned about whether London has taken the necessary steps to adequately secure the games has yet to be played out.

    July 29, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  21. Richard Long

    So were they ready? Should something happen, London would be embarrassed!

    July 29, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  22. Ted

    Gibbs continues to be embarassing to the USA as Romney's at least has a program to fix this country.

    July 29, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  23. chefpaulo

    Since when does a presumptive party nominee speak for this nation in a "major foreign policy speech?"Has Mitt's narcissism led him to believe that he is also the presumptive Commander in Chief? This is not my idea of a realistic leader.

    July 29, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  24. Jim B

    So Obama's treatment of our friends across the pond is exemplary? Romney's observations were trained and automatic. He's a thinker and a fixer when it comes to this stuff. I saw nothing particularly offensive from him.

    July 29, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  25. david carroll

    Says the lap dog of the president that spit in the face of the British by sending the bust of Churchill back. Obama is the embarrasment here. Remember Romney did pull off an Olympics so at least he speaks from experience of success unlike the Obama failures.

    July 29, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
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