Gibbs: Romney embarrassed the U.S. in London
July 29th, 2012
10:25 AM ET
10 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. Fausto Montoya

    Actually I do not believe The president needs for Mr. Romney to express his ideas here or abroad to be able to politically venefit from Mr . Romney's opinions about our friends and / or neighbors, It only displays the capacity of the individual to have an opinion wether right or wrong ? and not know the difference or the consequences of speaking with out diplomacy and tact,! That is one of the first things I learned in semminars on how to manage , You spect people to be able to hold back and not think out loud when there are open microfones right ? This is not an embarrassing thing to our country because it does not reflect our opinion in general . But for Mr. Romney to show that poor jugment of one of the worlds most protected places to host an olympic event ? It stinks ! Mr. Romney"s experience or inexperience comes from his own oportunity to learn hands on( know how ) when he worked ( with out pay ) for the olympics afew years ago, One thing is for sure ! This is NOT a gaffe or You Tube moment ! And another thing ! The U. S. A. needs not to apologise for one person's opinion ! He actually does not represent the U. S. A. Thanks.

    July 29, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. Thomas

    Give me a brake Gibbs !

    Romney didn't embarrass America , he embarrassed himself !

    I would agree Romney is undermining US foreign policy . In regards to his pondering statements on his short look see show tour to Israel .

    July 29, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  3. MMama

    Gimme a break, he said what a lot of news outlets are reporting. Oh yea I forget, no one is supposed to tell the truth. Maybe he needs a teleprompter like Obama.

    July 29, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. jamison

    For the past year all I have heard is Romney say something then a week later make a 360 degree turn on the subject. Frankly, I AM SICK OF THIS GUY. The USA will be the laughing stock of the world if Romney becomes Pres.

    July 29, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  5. Fausto Montoya

    Errm * Exactlly ! Thanks.

    July 29, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  6. vic , nashville ,tn

    It’s really embarrassment,
    I have seen foreign political leaders criticized Obama’s Comments Bush’s Comments But

    I never seen this magnitude criticism

    July 29, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  7. Bren

    Anyone who watched the sad, boring, pathetic, liberal/socialist opening ceremony-easily recognized/understood why the liberal Brits were attacking Romney for what he said. I looked forward to watching the opening ceremony, and I thought that it was going to be fantastic, being that it was in the UK. However, I was saddened/embarrassed for the moderate/sane Brits, and what the liberals have done to their once powerful, respected country. Oh, and by the way liberals-I posted this exact comment under the comments sections of the UK papers. And, guess what-hundreds of Brits told me that they agreed with every word that I said-and what Romney said as well.

    July 29, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. rrd

    The Obama's and England

    In 2009 when Obama met the Queen, he gave her a $200 iPod as a gift, Michelle touches the Queen before she extends her hand, breaking a several hundred year old English protocol. And Obama started to give his speech before England's national anthem finished.

    Oh how we forget.

    July 29, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  9. Hanna4055

    Um...Sue, both the Mayor of London and the Prime Minister represent the Conservative Party in England and both smacked Romney upside the head in public. Also, they did not ask for Romney's opinion. Romney demonstrated with his remarks he is not ready to represent the US.

    July 29, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  10. "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." --B. Obama

    The uhbama doesn't even understand the difference between Great Britain and England, so I think gibbs should keep his mouth shut.

    July 29, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. Kelly

    mmm, Romney says that it's too early to tell if London is ready for the Olympics and a Senior Advisor to Obama says that it was an embarrassing thing to say. Wonder what he thinks of Obama saying "you didn't build that"

    July 29, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  12. Kitty

    Sue, I loved the bake sale comment. Tom, you should consult the pres. about your next sale...I'm sure he has free cool-ade to go with the goodies. However, I am not sure you can have a bake sale in America any more.

    July 29, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  13. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Well, Mr Gibbs, Tibbs, Fibs, Etc,
    Not nearly as revealing as What's-his-name saying the Private Sector is doing fine, BUT, you didn't build that, somebody else did it! Any more questions about What's-His-Name being in over his head. I don't make the News, I just reports the News.

    July 29, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  14. al

    lets look at the gaffs that Obama has made while overseas and he uses a teleprompter to deliver his speaches.....Unfortunately Obama has no foreign Policy to speak of and to add to that no Domestic one either.

    July 29, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  15. mk1

    Hey, Romney is simply an embarrassment to the United States, let alone himself and his party. What a fool.

    July 29, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  16. rs

    Yeah, but for today's GOP, dumb is the new cool. It is a sad day when we'd rather be the "ugly American" abroad than the thoughtfull, knowledgable foreign policy GOP of the 1970s.

    July 29, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
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