Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, on an overseas diplomatic, tried to explain his way out of a gaffe on Friday by insisting he is "absolutely convinced" that London is ready for the summer Olympic Games.
Speaking on the London set of NBC's "Today" show, Romney backtracked on controversial comments he made on Wednesday that openly questioned the city's preparedness.
"After being here a couple of days, it looks like London is ready." Romney said Friday. "I'm absolutely convinced the people here are ready for the Games.'"
On Wednesday, Romney told NBC, "It's hard to know just how well it will turn out. There were a few things that were disconcerting."
He was referring to news reports of a lack of security, immigration and customs personnel, which he called "obviously not something which is encouraging."
The remarks angered London's famous tabloid papers, with one paper running a headline reading "Mitt the Twit." It angered top British officials as well.
Even Prime Minister David Cameron criticized Romney, commenting publicly that it was difficult to stage a huge event like the Olympics in the midst of a large metropolitan city, as opposed to "the middle of nowhere" - a reference to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, which Romney supervised.
Asked about the media criticism, as well as Cameron's remark, Romney dismissed it and tried to spin the news forward.
"In just a few moments, all of the things politicians say will get swept away because the athletes will take the stage," he said. "The games are about the athletes. That's why the games virtually anywhere they have been have been a success."
Romney also complimented British officials for staging the event in the middle of London, saying he understood the difficulty of doing so in a large city.
Romney is traveling to Israel, Poland and Britain on a diplomatic journey.
by RTT Staff Writer
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