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Obama advisor Axelrod 'speechless' over Romney Olympic kerfuffle

July 26, 2012|By Kathleen Hennessey
  • Mitt Romney speaks to the media outside 10 Downing street after a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Mitt Romney speaks to the media outside 10 Downing street after a meeting… (Ben Stansall / AFP/Getty…)

WASHINGTON – Among the people watching Mitt Romney’s European misadventures with interest on Thursday was President Obama’s top campaign strategist, David Axelrod.

“It’s been quite amazing so far,” Axelrod remarked Thursday. “I’m almost speechless. That doesn’t happen too often.”

Romney made headlines on his first day abroad by calling some elements of the British planning for the Olympics “disconcerting,” to the apparent annoyance of some of his hosts. Romney later emphasized that he was “very delighted with the prospects of a highly successful Olympic games.”

PHOTOS: Romney's trip abroad

At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney pointedly noted, “In keeping with our special relationship, the president also made it clear that he has the utmost confidence in our close friend and ally, the United Kingdom, as they finalize preparations to host the London Olympics.”

British news outlets also pointed out that Romney appeared to commit a faux pas by disclosing the fact that he met with the head of MI-6, the British foreign intelligence service.

Axelrod said he was following the developments on Twitter – an unrivaled venue for the sort of brutal snark well-suited to political gaffes, but particularly ones in which the Brits weigh in. (See #romneyshambles)

Asked if he’d seen any stumbles that might stick, Axelrod said that “everything contributes to impressions.”

“It’s a little bewildering why he made this trip," Axelrod said. "He says the whole election is about the economy and then he sets out for Europe and the Middle East. So I assume he wanted to show his mastery in foreign policy and his diplomatic chops. The early returns are not encouraging.”

kathleen.hennessey@latimes.com

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