It is the unlikeliest of international scenarios that Mitt Romney — toothsome, Olympic-tested, rhetorically cautious Mitt Romney — would stumble onto the international stage in London and rapidly morph into the Ugly American.
Perhaps the famously, coolly analytical Romney is correct that London is not fully prepared to host the quadrennial Summer Games. And he was, assuredly, accurate in his book when he pointed out that England was, in relatively recent historical terms, an unparalleled global power and that it is no longer, and that its roads are small. And certainly, the fostering of international dialogue among local officials, even of the strained variety, is a worthy pursuit.
But you don’t come out and say these things, particularly not when you’re wiring an overseas trip intended to highlight your commitment to some of the most fiercely democratic countries on the planet, intending to elevate yourself to presidential status and reassure voters back home that you would be better at handling international affairs than the Oval Office’s current inhabitant. You don’t act like the fat Yank with the American flag shirt and an Olympic-sized Leica around your neck, loudly requesting directions to the big clock.
And for Romney, who has built much of his foreign-policy argument this campaign around the notion that President Obama has been toadying up and apologizing to countries the world over, you most certainly don’t want to be in a position to say you’re sorry.
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Romney Trip Off to an Inauspicious Start
[National Journal, 7/26/12] Mitt Romney’s three-nation voyage was already losing points as the candidate arrived in London. Romney took flak for scheduling fundraisers with international financiers who may have been involved in the 2008 financial crisis — and that was before an unnamed campaign adviser made a racially charged remark.
Romney Meets UK Leaders Ahead of London Fundraiser
[CBS News, 7/26/12] Ahead of a day of fundraising, Romney sought to project an image of leadership and to send a message that he recognizes the close bonds between the U.S. and its top ally. Romney met on Thursday with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and current Prime Minister David Cameron.
Romney Walks Back Olympic Comments
[National Journal, 7/26/12] As Romney emerged from a meeting with Cameron on Thursday, Romney reiterated his faith in the host city’s Olympic Games preparations in an attempt to quell criticism of his earlier comments that he found events leading up to the Games “disconcerting.”
Romney Resists Specifics on VA Policy
[Reuters, 7/26/12] The veteran vote could be pivotal in some swing states, which is why Romney seems to be making a misstep in failing to offer more distinct policy proposals for fixing veterans' aid, even as Obama faces criticism on the issue.
GOP Govs. Jindal, McDonnell Come to Romney's Aid in Iowa NEW!
[National Journal, 7/26/12] Popular conservative Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Bob McDonnell of Virginia on Thursday lent their help to Romney, traveling across Iowa to fire up volunteers and make hay of Obama’s “you didn’t build that” comment to business owners. It was a smooth campaign stop for the governors, in contrast to Romney’s foreign trip.
Anonymous Donations Can Remain Secret Despite IRS Requirement to Disclose
[Bloomberg, 7/26/12] Because 501(c)(4) social welfare nonprofits only have to disclose their donors if they know who they are, donors can find ways to contribute anonymously, and the rules on how far the organization has to go to find out where the money came from are murky.
A Guide to the Final 100-day Sprint for Obama and Romney
[USA Today, 7/26/12] Sunday marks 100 days until November 6, which is the time voters are paying the most attention and see this as a final test of the candidates. Five big moments to expect during these 100 days: Olympics, unemployment report, Romney's VP pick, speeches and debates.
The 2012 Money Race: Romney Relies on Big Donors, While Obama Taps the Grassroots
[Time, 7/26/12] Romney is receiving less small-dollar donations than John McCain received in 2008 and Obama is depending more on receiving large donations than he did in his 2008 run. In June, 15% of Romney's donations were from small donors and Obama raised $112 million from small donors.
Wealthy Dems Bankrolling New Effort to counter GOP `Swift-Boating’ of Obama on Israel
[Washington Post, 7/26/12] A group of wealthy Democrats are putting together several million dollars to counter Sheldon Adelson's effort for Romney. This effort shows that Democrats are taking Jewish voters' defections seriously.
Romney’s Veepstakes: Searching for Mr. (or Ms.) Right
[National Journal, 7/26/12] From New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte to former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, here is an alphabetical guide through the trial balloons, wild speculation, and received conventional wisdom relating to Romney’s veep search.
Is Michigan in Play for Romney?
[The Atlantic, 7/26/12] A recent poll showed Romney with a 1-point edge in Michigan and others have indicated a tight race. The Atlantic's David A. Graham provides a rundown of why the race looks close.
Romney Was Registered Lobbyist for 2002 Olympics
[Huffington Post, 7/26/12] Romney has regularly attacked opponents for serving as lobbyists, but the HuffPo reports a little-known fact: that he was a registered lobbyist in Utah for part of the time he was running the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Ad Rates Spike as Candidates, Groups Scurry to Get on Air
[National Journal, 7/26/12] The cost of running a single television advertisement has jumped in key markets across the country as candidates, party committees, and independent groups race to get their ads on the airwaves.
Obama's Damn-the-Torpedoes Call for Consensus on Gun Control
[National Journal, 7/26/12] Obama devoted considerable real estate to the idea of "commonsense" gun control in his speech to the National Urban League, but it wasn't exactly what people wanted. He didn't propose anything new, nor did he say anything even remotely suggesting that he would lead a full-out fight on the issue.
Voter Overload and the Presidential Endgame
[Roll Call, 7/26/12] Millions and millions of dollars in presidential ads have aired so far in battleground states, and the numbers will only grow. Will the ads resonate in key swing states, or will voters, drowning in a sea of arguments, statistics, and refrains of “America the Beautiful” played over and over — and over — tune it all out?
White House Tailors Black Health Care Pitch
[Politico, 7/26/12] Team Obama is pounding a new message these days: Blacks and Hispanics, among whom uninsured rates are significantly higher than among whites, stand to benefit disproportionately under the health care law.
VP Nominee or Not, Portman Is Valuable
[Roll Call, 7/26/12] In a Congress defined by partisan rancor and gridlock, the Ohio senator has been reaching across the aisle for legislative initiatives he finds worthy, like a measure he introduced on Wednesday to end the practice of government shutdowns.
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