Romney: Olympic SNAFUs 'disconcerting'
July 26th, 2012
07:08 AM ET
9 years ago

Romney: Olympic SNAFUs 'disconcerting'

(CNN) – Security shortfalls and a now-cancelled strike from border guards make for a "disconcerting" start to the London Olympic Games, presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney said in an interview Wednesday.

Speaking with NBC News, Romney said it was too early to tell if the London organizers were ready for the start of the Games.

CNN's Piers Morgan sits down with Mitt and Ann Romney Thursday in London. Watch "Piers Morgan Tonight" at 9 p.m. ET for their interview.

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"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."

On Wednesday, British immigration officiers who had been planning to strike Thursday - one day before the official start of the Olympic Games - called off plans to walk off the job.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that the firm charged with providing security for the Games could not provide the number of guards they originally promised. The company's chief executive, under pressure before a panel of British lawmakers, agreed the fiasco was a "a humiliating shambles" last week.

In his interview, Romney said there were three elements that made an Olympic Games successful: athletes, volunteers, and the people living in the country where the competition takes place.

"Do they come together and celebrate the Olympic moment?" Romney said of the third element. "That's something which we only find out once the Games actually begin."

READ MORE: London prepares for an Olympics to remember

Romney, who led the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, is in London ahead of a three-country overseas tour that will also take him to Israel and Poland. He will attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics Friday, and will hope to highlight his achievements from the 2002 Games.

British Prime Minister David Cameron was asked about Romney's comments at a press conference Thursday, ahead of his scheduled meeting with the GOP candidate.

"I think we will show the whole world not just that we come together as a United Kingdom but also we're extremely good at welcoming people from across the world," Cameron said, adding that he anticipated the country would come together to welcome world athletes. Cameron said he planned to make similar points to Romney during their meeting.

Speaking before a meeting Thursday with Ed Miliband, the leader of the Labour opposition party, Romney said that mistakes were inevitable when it comes to the Olympics.

"My experience with regards to the Olympics is it is impossible for absolutely no mistakes to occur," Romney said. "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. The Games are, after all, about the athletes, the volunteers and the people of the community that come together to celebrate those athletes. They are not about the Organizing Committee. And as soon as the sporting events begin, we all forget the organizers and focus on the athletes."

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. carrotroot

    Thank god Mitt is not our President, he just embarrassed our country by questioning the readiness of closets ally's ability to host the Olympic games - on their own soil. This is like going to your neighbor's house and questioning their choice of silverware.

    July 26, 2012 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  2. mm

    Romney is no leader. Just a career campaign old rich kid with daddy issues.

    July 26, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  3. Nameb Willis

    Romney could offer a few suggestions to the Brits since the 2002 Olympics was one of the most successful on record in terms of organization, financing, and spirit of international competition! Nn

    July 26, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  4. Boo

    The most disconcerting thing about the Olympics is this moron making stupid speeches. Maybe London should have asked for American federal funds (our tax dollars) the way Romney did when he was running things for the Olympics.

    July 26, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Has Mitt Romney ever visited Afghanistan or Iraq?
    Has he ever visited with troops outside of US borders?

    Have noticed that Mitt Romney's stops on this world tour are safe havens for him to visit? England and Israel are our two closest allies. The Polish people, which led the ground roots revolution that led to collapse of the Soviet bloc, have been closely allied with the US ever since a labor foreman named Walesa led his workers on strikes.

    July 26, 2012 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  6. pntherpaw86

    So let me get this straight ... Romney travels to the Olympics, tells the British the equivalent of "you guys suck, things like this would have never happened under my watch when I was running the Olympics", and cowardly leaks a quote to a British newspaper saying Obama doesn't get America because he doesn't have white heritage???

    Maybe he should just realize he's in waaaaaay over his head, tuck his tail between his legs, and come home before he embarrasses himself (and our country) further!

    July 26, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  7. Sadie Boyd

    Hey Willard, why don't you help with the Olympics instead of criticizing...a good idea for you would be to stop posing as a statesman and patriot and go back to your old job...thank you...

    July 26, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  8. RS, CA

    So glad Romney will be our new president! Can't wait!

    Romney 2012 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 26, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  9. Louis in Wisc.

    The only reason the Salt Lkae games made it was from a BAILOUT for our Govt Mitt had nothing to do with it anybody can make anything a sucess if they have unlimited $ to throw ai it...except his run for the White house which will be a huge failure and a complete waste of 1 BILLION plus of old white rich $'s.

    July 26, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  10. Progressives = Progressive Liberal Cancer

    Every day that passes Obama reveals just how far left he is. He needs to be honest with the American people and tell us just who he is and what he believes in before he gets another term. I don't trust him any more.

    July 26, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Nameb Willis wrote:

    Romney could offer a few suggestions to the Brits since the 2002 Olympics was one of the most successful on record in terms of organization, financing, and spirit of international competition!
    The 2002 Winter Games are not the stellar example that Romney supporters want you to think they were. You must first understand what an organizing committee does and what was different about SLOC. Their main function is to construct and prepare all of the venues. So why did they hire a private investment banker to manage a construction project?

    The US political climate when Salt Lake was bidding for the games was overshadowed by 'contracts with America' and Congress shutting down government, and somethng else. That something else was the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta. That event had its' share of questions about taxpayer money was being spent, and who would be the long term beneficiary of the dollars spent. Many of the newly constructed facilities would seemingly end up in private hands.

    The SLOC had promised to be the first privately funded Olympic event in history. Private donors were to fund the construction of venues. They were falling behind in their donations. So they called in an 'expert' at raising private capital for large investments, Mitt Romney. This expert had many connections to wealthy clients and potential large investors.

    The problem is simple. Romney couldn't meet the bottom line. He still needed hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars. He balanced his books on the backs of US taxpayers. Nothing wrong with that in and of itself. Except, Mitt Romney failed in his mission to "save" the Games. He didn't raise the required private funds, and had to fall back on the taxpayers to complete the mission. A pattern that he repeatedly used while at Bain.

    July 26, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  12. Eddie The Barber

    So Romney and his Republican friends often put Obama down for being "a community organizer", but he's so very quick to harp on his single claim to fame – and olympic organizer. At least Obama has achieved the presidency – a position that I beleive will elude the former one term governor of MA.

    July 26, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. M-W-T

    Romney will say ANYTHING and EVERYTHING, get elected.....


    July 26, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  14. realitychecks

    Oh no he's going rogue, where are his handlers? He will have the world against us! Definately not Presidetial material. Obama-Biden 2012

    July 26, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  15. ohio

    wow-way to go Romney. Are you going to call out every mistake and hurl backhanded insults
    at every country you visit? For a moment there i thought that you thought you were British and felt
    entitled to say those things on behalf of the British.. . . .bet that's going over well.
    well–we will have to see if the old gaurd that still thinks ozzy and harriet are the typical family, and
    let's not forget the uneducated rednecks elect you. Aside from that i think we have hope that you
    will not be living in the White House.

    July 26, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  16. rs

    Niiiiiice.Touch down, get into London and insult THEIR Olympics organizers. This after the "Anglo-Saxon special relationship" comment. This really is "W" all over again.

    July 26, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. independent

    MItt Romney, face of the mass manipulators.
    Companies have historic cash-on-hand,
    Companies have been recording record profits,
    The GOP says that tax rates and regulations prevent them from hiring.
    The high-net-worth folks have record incomes,
    The wealthiest Americans have their lowest tax rates in 70 years,
    The GOP says that weatlhy American need a tax break to create jobs.
    We have seen gas price manipulation,
    We have seen commodity and stock price manipulation,
    We have heard the GOP say that they will do what it takes to make the President a one-term President,
    Corporate America is fatally tied to the GOP. Why won't the companies use some of their record profits and cash to raise salaries and hire more workers? Because both the GOP and Corp America are colluding to keep the economy weak until after the election.
    Let's hope the birds come home to roost on election day, and the next tax bill increase the tax rates on undistributed corporate income and the corporate foreign income.

    July 26, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  18. it's not the 50s

    wow is he embarrassing. please people think before you vote for this man.

    July 26, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  19. Al-NY,NY

    Here's a way Flip can try to make up for his idiotic comment....."I like eel pie" It works for the sheep here so he's thinking he can talk his way out of it over there.

    July 26, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  20. K

    Nameb Willis: Yes, Mr. Romney could offer suggestions. But typically it's polite to wait until your opinion is asked for before chiming in. And nobody asked. So butt out Mr. Romney ... and come back to the U.S. and lose this election quickly so we can get onto more important things than you and your tax breaks for the rich.

    July 26, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  21. Leroy

    Looks like ol' Mitt Romney was tutored by Michele Backmann!

    July 26, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  22. Ed

    I have always thought a President should have two things over me – common sense and high intelligence. Sorry Mitt – you fail on both counts

    July 26, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  23. Malory Archer

    Don't the rules pertaining to political candidtates dictate that BOTH candidates receive EQUAL media coverage (doesn't matter whether it's positive or negative – they're supposed to get equal coverage)? Why is CNN not complying? Five of the news stories (including the first four) on the first page of Ticker are about mittens, and there are only three about President Obama. And a visit to the pages containing older articles paints the same picture. What's up with that? Contrary to the constant tighty righty whine, it appears that CNN is in the bag for mittens.

    July 26, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. steve

    Funny how this story doesn't mention one word about what U.S. Prime Minister David Cameron said in response to Romney's criticism. He said something like: "Well, it's a lot easier to do things when you're holding an Olympics in the middle of nowhere" i.e., Utah...Ouch! Why no mention of this, CNN?

    July 26, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. steve

    Meant U.K. Prime Minister Cameron, obviously not U.S. Prime Minister...

    July 26, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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