From here on out, Mitt Romney really should just shut up and smile. That's because, after a rocky start in Britain, the two most important legs of his trip overseas are coming up: Florida and the Midwest. Sorry, I meant Israel and Poland, but in both places Romney's real focus will be to appeal to key voting blocs at home: Jewish-Americans, who heavily populate South Florida and could sway the vote in that battleground state; and Catholic Americans, who could help to determine Romney's fate in other critical battleground states such as Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan. (New Jersey and Pennsylvania are also heavily Catholic.)
And to that end mainly what Romney really needs to worry about is the optics of this trip. No one expects him to say much -- he himself has said he'll observe the old rule about not criticizing the president on foreign soil-- and in any case he doesn't need any more verbal gaffes.
All Romney really needs out of this trip is a series of shots of him grinning broadly next to his old pal Bibi Netanyahu (the two worked together decades ago at the Boston Consulting Group), the Israeli prime minister with whom Barack Obama has had a testy relationship, upsetting many American Jews; and gripping the hand of Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski as well as democracy hero Lech Walesa, whose picture still decorates the homes of many Polish-Americans.
So smile for the cameras, Mitt. Of course you made some rookie mistakes in London. That's no biggie; what better place to trip up than among friends? (And everybody does it with the Brits; recall Obama's embarrassing gift of DVDs to Gordon Brown in 2009.)
But you really don't need any more local press like that Daily Mail headline: "Who Invited Him?" Limit yourself to pleasantries and let the pictures speak for themselves.
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