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Mitt Romney stumbles out of the gate on world trip. Will US voters care? (+video)

Mitt Romney is off to a rocky start on a trip meant to showcase his abilities as a statesman. First was an aide's 'Anglo-Saxon' comment, then the candidate cast doubt on Olympics preparations.

By Staff writer / July 26, 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney arrives at 10 Downing Street in London, Thursday, July 26.

Jason Reed/AP

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Washington

Mitt Romney’s seven-day overseas tour, designed to showcase the presidential hopeful’s statesmanlike qualities, is getting off to a rocky start.

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First, the London daily Telegraph quoted an unnamed Romney aide as saying that the Obama presidency does not fully appreciate the “Anglo-Saxon” heritage that Great Britain and the United States share. Coming after weeks of Governor Romney describing President Obama’s ideology as “foreign” to most Americans, the remark caused a transatlantic tempest. 

Then Romney ruffled more than a few Anglo-Saxon feathers by casting doubt on preparations for the London Olympic Games, which kick off Friday.

In an interview broadcast Wednesday on NBC News, the former Olympics chief (he led the 2002 Salt Lake City games) referred to what he called “disconcerting” pre-game security issues, and said that “it’s hard to know just how well it [the London Games] will turn out.”

Romney later addressed both squalls: He said he believes Obama “understands” the “special relationship” between Britain and the US. As for the Olympics, he said mistakes were bound to be made in the run-up to any games, but that it was the athletes, the volunteers, and the hosting public that would determine the Games’ success.

The bumps at the outset of Romney’s trip are certainly not what he wanted. But it’s also true that, especially in a campaign that is so heavily focused on domestic economic issues, such “teapot tempests” are unlikely to have a significant impact, political analysts say.

“The whole point of a trip like this is to show that someone like Romney who doesn’t have a lot of international experience can handle the world stage, so anything that gets in the way of that or suggests things aren’t going smoothly isn’t good for the candidate,” says Thomas Henriksen, a senior fellow in American foreign policy at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, Calif. “That said, these things are tiny blips that are unlikely to be remembered in November.”

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