The campaign to re-elect President Barack Obama criticized Republican candidate Mitt Romney for his multiple gaffes overseas while also saying it was up to Romney himself to explain why he made such remarks.
"Mitt Romney's three country trip may be over, but I would say...the concerns raised by this trip keep coming up, keep coming in," Obama for America (OFA) Senior Advisor Robert Gibbs said during a press call Tuesday.
Referring to several gaffes made during Romney's trip to the U.K., Israel and Poland, Obama campaign staff said the offensive and indelicate remarks were only bolstered by the lack of concrete foreign policy stances by the former Massachusetts Governor.
"Governor Romney certainly failed," OFA advisor and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East Colin Kahl told reporters.
Kahl claimed Romney "humiliated" arguably our closest ally, the United Kingdom, by questioning their planning of the Olympics, "waded into a very, very delicate diplomatic situation" in Israel and "forgot the policy" in Poland.
Arguing the trip should have been like "playing tee-ball" for the GOP presidential candidate, Kahl said Romney reacted more like a nervous batter facing a major league pitcher.
"He repeatedly took a pass on explaining his views on foreign policy to the American people," Gibbs added, calling attention to the fact that Romney took just three questions from the press during the entire trip - all three during his first stop in London - while then Senator Obama took 25 and did 7 network interviews during his 2008 trip abroad.
"There's simply no comparison," Gibbs said. "He certainly didn't convince anyone he passed the commander-in-chief test."
Romney trip, meant to be a goodwill and fundraising trip abroad to three American allies, ended up highlighting what some pundits say is Romney's inexperience on foreign policy.
In the U.S., Romney called London's planning of the Olympics "disconcerting," adding, "The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials - that obviously is not something which is encouraging."
However, Romney walked back these remarks in a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron, saying mistakes will be made and spectators forget all about the host of the games once they begin.
In Israel, Romney was criticized for stating the U.S. should formally name Jerusalem the capital of the state and should move the embassy there from Tel Aviv, something many presidential candidates have done in the past.
Although Obama advisor Dennis Ross said something similar while on the campaign trail in 2008, Obama for America staff this time around said Romney's statements proved he didn't have a good handle on the delicate balance of the region.
"Part of our role in the Middle East is the play a constructive role in the peace process," Kahl told reporters Tuesday. "It's up to Governor Romney to say as to why those comments would be helpful to advancing" that process.
Finally, OFA staff said Romney's foreign policy address in Poland, in which he called the country's march toward economic liberalization a model for all, was missing any policy.
"There was really no 'there' there," Kahl said.
But pundits were perhaps most surprised by Romney's remark in Israel suggesting that "culture" is part of the reason for the economic disparity between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.
"Culture makes all the difference," Romney said in Jerusalem. "And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things."
He added, "As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality."
Senior Palestinian officials have since called the remark "racist." The Obama campaign largely deflected a question on the remark today, saying only their administration had long worked to "build up Palestinian institutions from the ground up."
But Romney advisors after the visit said they didn't think the gaffes would change voters' minds here at home.
"I don't think that will go down in history as very important," senior campaign strategist Stuart Stevens told reporters, calling the trip "great."
"I think that the public is very good at discerning what's important and what's not important. I don't think they give equal value to all things, and I think the people focus on what they find important and what is relevant to them in their lives," he added.
In response, Gibbs said, "Campaigns don't do things that don't matter...That may well be among the craziest things that have been said along the course of this trip."
Romney has now returned to the U.S. and will spend the week campaigning in the states. He will make remarks in Colorado on Thursday.
by RTT Staff Writer
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