News / USA

Romney Foreign Trip Likely No Big Deal for US Voters

With the headline "Mitt the Twit", The Sun newspaper criticizes comments regarding the London Olympics made by Mitt Romney in London, July 27, 2012.
With the headline "Mitt the Twit", The Sun newspaper criticizes comments regarding the London Olympics made by Mitt Romney in London, July 27, 2012.
Just about everywhere he went on his week-long foreign trip, U.S. Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney seemed to make headlines.

In London, the British tabloids screamed "Mitt the Twit," harshly criticizing the former governor of the northeastern state of Massachusetts for criticizing British security preparations ahead of the Olympics.

In Israel, Romney offended Palestinians when he called Jerusalem Israel's capital; Palestinians want to make East Jerusalem the capital of their future state.

And in Poland, one of Romney's aides caused a bit of commotion when he told reporters to "shove it" as they shouted questions at the candidate while he visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  The aide later called the media to apologize.

  • U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife Ann Romney visit the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes in Warsaw, Poland, July 31, 2012.
  • U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife Ann wave to people on the street before his meeting with Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk at the Old Town Hall in Gdansk, Poland, July 30, 2012.
  • Romney meets with Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Gdansk, July 30, 2012.
  • Romney pauses next to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, July 29, 2012.
  • Romney greets the crowd after his visit to the Western Wall.
  • Romney meets with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, July 29, 2012.
  • Romney walks down Grosvenor Place to avoid a traffic jam and is recognized by bystanders. He was walking to meet Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny at the Embassy of Ireland in London, July 27, 2012.
  • With the headline "Mitt the Twit", The Sun newspaper criticizes comments regarding the London Olympics made by Mitt Romney in London.
  • Romney meets with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny at the Irish Embassy in London, July 27, 2012.
  • Mitt Romney and his wife Ann wave during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium London, July 27, 2012.

George Mason University Professor of Public Policy Jeremy Mayer says, in many ways for Romney, the trip could not have gone much worse.

"He looked unpresidential.  He looked unprepared.  He made unforced errors," said Mayer.

So, with less than 100 days until Americans go to the polls, what difference does all this make?  Mayer says very possibly, none at all. 

"I don't think his mistakes broke through to the consciousness [of the American public]," he said, arguing that, if anything, Romney wasted a week trying to capture the attention of the very small number of U.S. voters who pay close attention to foreign policy.

Recent polling data backs up Mayer's assertion that the trip had little impact on what American voters are thinking. Tracking polls done by the Gallup Organization show Romney ended July trailing President Barack Obama by a mere two percentage points, making the race a statistical tie.

James Carafano at the Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Foundation says the trip, in fact, did some good.

"The world is not going to be surprised to see what kind of foreign policy-national security president Romney is.  He'll be very different from Obama.  So, in that sense, I give the campaign an 'A'," he said.

Still, Carafano says the trip should give the Romney campaign reason for concern, especially given the troubles the Romney campaign had with public relations and messaging to the foreign audiences.

Others are more criticial. "He managed to make a number of mistakes that didn't play very well either at home or abroad, so I don't think he can be very pleased overall with how the week went," said Judd Legum with the Center for American Progress.

"Every day and every week is important, so it did interfere with what he wanted to accomplish on this trip, which was presenting him as a credible face for America abroad."

Justin Logan, director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, agrees with those who say Romney's gaffes during the trip will not impact the U.S. presidential race.  But he says it is clear that Romney needs better advice on the diplomatic front.

“I do think it is interesting, and somewhat surprising, that there were some of the unforced errors - for example, causing a stir in Britain by saying some things that, in fairness, were not untrue about Britain’s preparation for the Olympics," he said. "There just was no reason to bring that up.  Even though sometime things are true, the art of diplomacy is very much about sometimes not saying things.”

That may be one reason why many U.S. presidential candidates do not make overseas trips during the campaign - the most recent exception being President Obama, who drew large crowds while campaigning abroad in 2008.

Analysts are quick to point out that Romney's trip was designed to be much more low-key in its approach.  And George Mason University's Mayer says the rough spots Romney ran into during his foreign trip could be due to the fact that the experienced businessman thrust himself into an area much less familiar to him - the diplomatic arena.

"I think he thought this was going to be easy," he said.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid