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. Errm

    wow. Are there really people saying that this isn't a big deal? This was more than a 'gaffe"; Romney insulted the UK with his comments. He's already also insulted Muslims with his "Islamists" comment. The man's stupidity and arrogance knows no bounds...yet people give him a pass, here on the CNN comments. Cassie1655, just b/c "the news media" says something, it does not mean that the presumptive GOP candidate should be repeating it. What he said is like going to someone's house for dinner...and then telling them the meat is tough.
    Oh, and "California"? His name is BARACK not "Hussein", but you already know that, don't you? Yes, we know he has a Muslim middle name. It was ON THE BALLOT, for pete's sake.

    July 29, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  2. tommariner

    Is this a joke? A "senior adviser to President Barack Obama's re-election campaign" makes a demeaning statement on his candidates opponent and you guys actually print it?

    But my favorite is "This president has had the strongest commitment of any U.S. president to Israel's security." That's a stupid prevarication, based on a panicky bill signing that attempts to erase three years of support for Israel's enemies.

    Yes, this is an accusation of ethically corrupt, biased reporting. The media and tv shows are filled with those paid and employed by the Democrat Campaign Committee - up to "Debbie Wasserman Schultz". I have no idea who heads a Republican campaign and have not heard ANY paid campaign spokespeople - because you guys won't give them a platform. We don't have a First Amendment so a protected press can root for the government in power - it was meant to keep them honest.

    July 29, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  3. Lou7

    And Obama says Romney is taking his "You didn't build it" out of context. What an idiot.

    The British company did not have enough security people so they had to use their armed forces. Strikes were threatened, the opening ceremony was a disgrace, not one person I talked to watched it after they rolled out the guy with the top hat. They are 100% over budget.

    SO, WERE THEY READY????????

    NO, NAE, NAY, NYET!!!!!!!!! That's just a fact.

    July 29, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. fojeba

    Romney is walking on Palin foot steps.I remember a lot of her americans fans refusing to accept the truth.The exact same thing is happening with Romney who obviously is not gifted to be a better President than Obama.

    July 29, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  5. Karm99

    Mitt Romney's saber rattling in Israel does nothing to promote the security of America.

    His foreign policy is the Bush/Cheney foreign policy, and we all know where that got us.

    Old, worn out and dangerous ideas.

    July 29, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  6. Sue

    If you read most articles from the UK and the US, it was only the liberals in the UK that were attacking Romney for what he said. I read the comments under a lot of the UK papers about what Romney said, and a majority of the moderate/sane Brits agreed with Romney. In other words......Just like here, the moderate/sane Brits realize that their loony left liberals are just as hilarious as those in the US. Another point--due to Romney being an intelligent/successful businessman, he was asked to save the olympics in the US, so he is qualified to give his opinion. Just like--if someone wanted to know how to have a successful bake sale, they would ask Obama, the community organizer, his opinions.

    July 29, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  7. william kuhn

    robert giggs is nothing more than a liberal democrat hack in bed with obama and his socialist ideas!

    July 29, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  8. Pope Algore

    Keep in mind that Gibbs, Obama, and the rest of the White House Marxists believe that a US President is supposed to bow in lowly subservience when meeting with other world leaders.

    Especially when they're third world despots, as Obama ALWAYS embarrasses the USA when he meets with the Saudis, China, etc.

    July 29, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  9. degazmatic

    After bush. Every body hated america. Flags were burnt. Compare burnt flags now to burnt flags 4 years ago. People loved america under clinton. Hated it under bush and like it under obama. Romney would incite hatred again. Dont believe me? Look at how fidel talks about obama and how he talks about romney. Nuff said

    July 29, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  10. labman57

    I beg to differ. Mitt merely managed to embarrass himself.

    July 29, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  11. tahl

    Romney stated a fact that the British government has also been concerned with. London is a large city with many security risk. Hello aren't the Brits a socialist nation, of course they will hammer Romney.
    Thank God!!! Romney has never stated or implied that he is not proud of America. I will take a savy business man who can obviously balance a budget over an individual with no interest in capitalism. Socialism did not build this great nation capitalism did!!!!!

    July 29, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  12. 1nd3p3nd3nt

    sounds like the republicans are starting to wake up to the fact their entire campaign against obama relies on irrational conspiracy theories.

    July 29, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  13. mike

    Gibbs is a fool. Romney's comments were spot on. The British press, in their eagerness to put Romney down in favor of their beloved Obama, has again shown itself to be ignorant and devoid of fact. Look in the mirror Brits!

    July 29, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  14. lou

    I would like to hear from President Obama and Mitt Romney whether they would use our nuclear weapons in a worst case senario to defend Israel.
    There are too many words one can put between " all and options" .


    July 29, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  15. rrd

    You know it's funny a couple of weeks ago everyone here said Romney's trip was meaningless, unimportant, etc. But now all of a sudden he's embarrassing the US on such a non newsworthy event.

    July 29, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  16. jedmerrill

    Mitt gave his expert opinion, one that every person in the UK agrees with, and Gibbs calls it a gaffe?

    Gibbs apparently feels that diplomacy means lying and covering things up, something Obama seems much more comfortable with.

    July 29, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  17. Miroslava

    It's hard to convert rich people into people-people. Willard does not have what it takes to be a successful, contemporary POTUS.

    July 29, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  18. California

    Obama is in trouble and the more trouble he get's in the more desperate their campaigning will get even to the extent of being dangerous.

    July 29, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  19. Anonymous

    Wow, they're really trying to make this stick and get some longevity on it, and it's not working. The libs are panicking. Obama's "you didn't build it" quote stuck hard, and for once the MSM spread the word, and the panicking escalated. Nice to see the MSM finally covering some of the ridiculous things Obama says about businesses and the people that create and work for them.

    July 29, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  20. Namejojo

    Considering the ticket fiasco that hit the news today maybe mitt was right and so goes the liberal hissy fit

    July 29, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  21. Mensaman

    Romney gets attacked by the press for speaking the truth but Obama gets cheered by the press for telling flat out lies.
    I would think with 8.2% unemployment, 50% unemployment for students and 15% unemployment for blacks, along with huge debt and dwindling 401K's would wake Americans up, but amazingly – it doesn't and they will vote Obama in again. Why?- because he can sing Al green songs. This election is all about makers versus takers and the takers want their handouts.

    July 29, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  22. rrd


    Mitt Romney's saber rattling in Israel does nothing to promote the security of America.

    His foreign policy is the Bush/Cheney foreign policy, and we all know where that got us.

    Old, worn out and dangerous ideas.
    Obama has said many times he would not take the military option off the table concerning Iran. How's that different then what Romney said?

    July 29, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  23. Tom

    Sorry, but it was the conservative Mayor, conservative Prime Minister and the conservative Press (belonging to Murdoch of Fox Noise) that made the remarks. I know most AmeriGuns are not that informed about the rest of the world outside the US but this is a more than stupid remark on your side.

    July 29, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  24. Four and The Door

    What is Gibb's take on how the world views American economic ineffectiveness over the last 3 1/2 years? Is he proud about the continued high unemployment of the world's largest industrial economy despite a 50% increase in national debt? Gibbs is just like Obama. A political hack with very little to bring to the party.

    July 29, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  25. George Politico

    I believe that the US should guarantee Israel's existence, but both candidates–especially Romney–should stop pandering to the Israel lobby. Israel steals Palestinian land and water. If we cannot recognize that fact and if we continue to support them no matter what they do, we won't achieve anything in the Middle East except another foreign policy disaster.

    July 29, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
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