Mitt Romney sought to strike a statesmanlike pose in front of 10 Downing Street on Thursday, declining to discuss his foreign-policy views while on foreign soil.
“I don't want to refer to any comments made by leaders representing other nations. Nor do I want to describe foreign-policy positions I might have while I'm on foreign soil,” Romney told reporters when asked about what he discussed in a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron. “I think discussions of foreign policy should be made by the president and the current administration, not by those that are seeking office.”
Romney’s remarks came following a controversy in which an unnamed Romney adviser’s told The Telegraph that the GOP nominee understands the American relationship with Great Britain better because of their “shared Anglo-Saxon heritage.” The Romney campaign has disavowed the comments.
Romney made similar comments about being hesitant to wade into foreign-policy discussions while abroad in an interview with NBC News.
But even as he did damage control on one front, Romney potentially blundered again, noting that he had met with the head of British service MI-6, which does foreign-intelligence work.
“I can only say that I appreciated the insight and perspectives of the leaders of the government here and opposition here as well as the head of MI-6,” he said.
According to some observers, acknowledging a meeting with the secret spy agency is a no-no for aspiring U.S. presidents.
"For our American readership, this isn't like bragging you just met [CIA Director] David Petraeus," The Guardian newspaper said on its political blog. "The British take on the national secret intelligence service comes with an extra-heavy dollop of the whole secret thing. The very existence of the MI-6 was not officially acknowledged until 1994."
A Romney campaign aide, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, said the eurozone economic crisis was "discussed at some length" in meetings between Romney and British officials. "Obviously the UK does a significant amount of export business with the eurozone, but the governor did discuss with them the potential impacts on the United States," the aide said.
The aide also said Romney discussed the upcoming "fiscal cliff" of budget cuts and tax increases that could hit in January 2013. "There was curiosity expressed by a number of the UK leaders about what would happen here, and just kind of questions surrounding both the policy and political environment leading up to it," he said.
Sarah Huisenga contributed