Obama senior campaign adviser Robert Gibbs took Mitt Romney to task today for embarrassing the United States during his gaffe filled stop in London.
Transcript from ABC News:
DOWD: And we’re going to talk about the economy in just — just a moment, which I’m sure you both have completely contrasting views on that, but one thing people think that maybe this an election that a gaffe, a mistake, in such a tight election, within a point or two, could make a difference, whether somebody shows up or not.
And, Kevin, you obviously have seen what’s happened when Governor Romney went to London, made his comments, took a lot of heat, especially from the British press. And is there a concern on y’all’s part that it’s — first time he’s on — on the stage, on the world stage, that people sort of now are taking a step back and maybe he’s not prepared after what he said about the Olympics over there?
MADDEN: Well, I think this is an election, again, that the public is viewing around big things. I don’t think that a gaffe or a YouTube moment is really going to make or break this particular election. I think it’s going to be about the direction of the country, how we rebuild the economy, how we continue to have a stronger national security posture around the globe.
I think that the headlines that — that come out of London on one day are not going to be as important as the overall view that people take when it comes to our economic prosperity here at home and then our safety and security around the globe.
So I think the fact that the governor has given a — he gave a very strong, robust speech about his national security policy at the Veterans of — at the VFW before he left. And I think you’re going to see some — some images that are coming out of Israel, with him standing strong with our allies there, some strong statements coming out of Israel, I think that’s going to be much more important as a judgment on this particular trip than anything that happened.
GIBBS: Can I just say this, Matthew? I would probably give that answer, too, if I hadn’t flown to London and embarrassed myself in front of our strongest ally in the world. Look, Mitt Romney wondered aloud whether London was ready for the Olympics, and I think it’s clear that voters in this country wonder aloud whether Mitt Romney is ready for the world, and I think the world is not yet ready for Mitt Romney.
I think there’s — literally to go overseas, stand in the country of our strongest ally, and on Olympics that they’ve been preparing for years for, and question whether or not they’re ready does make you wonder whether or not he’s ready to be commander-in-chief.
DOWD: Well, and obviously that’s the — that was the beginning of the trip. As Kevin referenced, he’s having an end of his trip, where he’s in Israel today. And…
GIBBS: Let’s hope the do-over goes better than the initial audition, because like I said, let’s be honest, Matthew. If you can’t handle smiling and talking about the Olympics…
MADDEN: … they were very polite about how they all believe that the athletes are going to make sure that the games work. And they will. And we’re all hoping for a good — we’re all hoping for a very successful…
GIBBS: Like you — like you, I’m happy David Cameron had the last word, because I thought it was embarrassing for our country.
I understand that ABC News is short staffed due to the Olympics, but having Matthew Dowd, who was the chief strategist behind George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign, conduct this interview was absurd. After Gibbs made his point about what disaster Romney has been, Dowd responded with the pro-Romney excuse that it was the beginning of the trip, as if Romney should be given a do-over because he wasn’t warmed up yet.
Gibbs was speaking for the Obama campaign when he called Romney’s London disaster an embarrassment for the country. The fact that Romney’s gaffes overshadowed the opening of the Olympics means that the perception of Romney as a foreign policy bumbler has been set. Sure he is going to give the now typical Republican boilerplate speech on Israel and Iran, but the dye has been cast.
After eight years of George W. Bush many voters are sensitive to the perception of a potential president who is warmongering foreign policy fool. The Obama campaign doesn’t have to compare Romney to Bush. He is doing it for them. Mitt Romney is morphing into an unholy combination of Sarah Palin and George W. Bush in real time before our very eyes.
And the Obama campaign is going to make sure that the impression of Mitt Romney as America’s international embarrassment sticks in the minds of voters from now until voter cast their ballots in November.
Mitt Romney is about to find out that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Both campaigns use the Sunday shows to test out themes and talking points for the week ahead. Gibbs was laying the groundwork, and you can expect that President Obama and/or his advertising will have something to say soon about Mitt Romney’s international misadventure.