Conservatives of a feather? Romney meets with British PM Cameron
US presidential candidate Mitt Romney is meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron today. They represent right-wing parties that were once close but have since drifted apart.
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Romney will also meet Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrat party who is deputy prime minister within Britain’s coalition government. And Romney has already met with Mr. Blair and Ed Miliband, the head of the opposition Labour party.Skip to next paragraph
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A chance to look savvy abroad
The trip to London – which is followed by stops in Poland and Israel – is an important opportunity for Romney, a former one-term governor who is widely traveled but inexperienced on the world's political stage, to demonstrate he has a sophisticated handle on foreign affairs.
That did not get off to the best start yesterday after an unnamed advisor reportedly told the Daily Telegraph that Romney had a better understanding of the countries’ “Anglo-Saxon heritage" than the White House. US Vice President Joe Biden called the remarks "disturbing."
“I don't know agree with whoever that advisor might be. But do agree that we have a very common bond between ourselves and Great Britain," Romney told NBC.
Arriving on the eve of the Olympics Games, which kicks off in the capital on Friday, Romney is also taking the opportunity to highlight his successful management of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
Again, tact was not at the fore.
"It's hard to know just how well it will turn out," he told NBC News from London. "There are a few things that were disconcerting. 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."
With less than four months to go until the US elections, Romney is also expected to hold top dollar fundraising events to which he will invite members of London’s expat American community.
Some MPs have complained that American employees at Barclays in London have spent too much time fundraising for Romney’s election campaign when they should be working to bolster confidence in the scandal-hit banking system.
“This visit is important in terms of getting both funding and votes from Americans living overseas,” says Christine Harlen, an American expert in US politics and the international political economy at the University of Leeds. “It’s a very close race and the overseas vote is an important one – in the UK and also in Israel.”