(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."
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
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.
Romney is incompetent with regard to foreign affairs, which makes for dangerous situations. What business does he even have meddling with Israel, and meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders?? He doesn't hold any office or represent the United States in any way. He's just trying to show that he has "foreign affairs experience", and clearly that was a disaster. He should butt out of things he clearly has no experience with, and stick to things he knows: making the rich richer, sending American jobs overseas, and trying to convert everyone to his cultish religion.
Romney was a big fish in a little pond in Utah. Now he's a little fish in a big pond in the world. He was just telling them what they should do. Cause he's the boss applesauce. (in his mind he is).
Gibbs has been an embarrassment to this country since his first day on the job.
Gibbs on "The Week" talking about Romney's outsourcing when Hussein Obama has outsourced more than Romney with OUR TAX DOLLARS.
I agree totally with Mr. Gibbs! Romney embarassed the US completely in the UK. He proved that he doesn't have what it takes to be president. Also, if he had any class or integrity, he would have apologized to the British for what he said. He doesn't have any class!
Pathetic and so typical of the liberals to keep this crap in the 'news'. Mr Romney didn't say anything that the news media hadn't been splashing all over the headlines prior to his visit to London. Is this all the libs can come up with? Even the Brits had been stating they wondered if they were ready! Stories are still coming out where they weren't with all the traffic issues, and having to call in the military. Gibbs needs to shut his mouth and go back to bed after taking his meds.
I also found Mitt's gaffe to be a national embarrassment. He appears to be a pompous ass. I'll be voting Libertarian again this November.
This is just an example of democrats looking for any fiber of fault with Romney. To me Romney told the truth about the readiness of the security precautions England is responsible for at the Olympics. The Democrats in their desperation to support a failed President have already proven how low they will go malign Romney. If Obama was not such a prolific failure as President...the democrats would not have to play in the sewer.....where they apparently feel comfortable.
Apparently Gibbs didn't watch the opening ceremonies. If that didn't vindicate Romney I don't know what did! :|
How exactly did he embarrass the US? Hes not our president. He a wealthy Governor. Whats embarrassing, if at all, is the fact that he belongs to a cult.
Whats embarrassing is that he belongs to a cult.
Mittromney was an embarrassment before he boarded that plane. Didn't expect him to do better frankly.
This election will be a walk in the park.
I beginning to think romney isnt very bright
Gibbs is a professional liar. That is not what we need in the White House at this time. We need someone who can get us out of this economic mess we are in.
Shouldn't he just stick to solving crimes for the navy. That Gibbs is so smart.
Liberals should just get out of the good old USA. THE Obama's and the Bloombergs are truly not Americans. They are about power and control.One step away from communists.
Romney is walking on Palin steps.I remember a lot of americans used to be upset when Palin was being criticized .I see the same thing with Romney who obviously would never be a better President than Obama.
I would have to disagree with Mr. Madden; in regards to saying, that the President should have moved in a more collaborative fashion. President Obama made the right move in taking his time and weighting his options carefully. Instead of rushing off with inaccurate information, which other presidents have done in the past.
"Romney didn't say anything that the news media hadn't been splashing................"
Romney is not a news reporter, and since when does he use the "Headlines" as his talking points?
"Is this all" that Romney "can come up with?"
He doesn't speak for America, so I'm not embarrassed. We keep seeing him as he his: empty suit.
george bush was an embaressment for 8 years with his deer in the headlights 3rd grade vocabulary.......romney would continue that tradition.
lol this is how we feel everyday in the US about Obama
How dare Gibbs say .that Romney embarassed the US Like previously said Obama has been doing that since he became President in 2008. You have to walk on eggs when you say anything against this admin. The DNC and Gibbs need to keep their mouth undercontrol because their record is nothing to brag about.
As bad as this President is.........The worst in history........the one that makes even Jimmy Carter look good....How can ANYONE make Him look bad?
If Obama insults the Brits and the major of London would make fun of Obama, you can be pretty darn sure that Republicans would use that over and over again... but if he makes fun of Mitt Romney, the democrats should not talk about it... How hypocrit do republicans get?
Is this the most important issue in the country? No. But it does show that this person is not ready to be a leading politician in the world. He doesn't even apologize...
Romney embarrasses the US in the US!