LONDON -- Say what you want about the British press, they certainly have a way with words. "Mitt the twit," reads this morning's headline in the country's national tabloid, The Sun. "Wannabe US President Romney in Games insult, but David Cameron insists: We'll show you."
Although no one seriously believes that swing voters in Iowa, Ohio or any other battleground state care all that much about this week's "diplomatic spat" (as London's Daily Telegraph described it), Romney's gaffe really seems to have mucked things up for him on the opening leg of his foreign trip.
And it wasn't as if Romney was going out on a limb when he told NBC News earlier this week that "it's hard to know just how well" the Olympics would turn out. Security issues have been a major concern. The problem was equal parts message and messenger. After seven years of preparation, the Brits weren't exactly keen on getting a lecture from America's Republican presidential candidate -- a fact that the head of the 2002 Salt Lake City games should have known.
"We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world," British Prime Minister David Cameron said yesterday. "Of course it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere."
Not long after Cameron's comments, Romney appeared outside 10 Downing Street predicting a "highly successful" Olympic games. Gone were his doubts from the day before.
But the damage was already done, and Romney's day of gaffes culminated with London Mayor Boris Johnson's verbal smack down in front of a crowd of at least 60,000 in Hyde Park yesterday during the Olympic torch lighting ceremony.
"There are some people who are coming from around the world who don't yet know about all the preparations we've done to get London ready in the last seven years," Johnson said. "I hear there's a guy -- there's a guy called Mitt Romney -- who wants to know whether we're ready. He wants to know whether we're ready. Are we ready?"
The crowd screamed, "Yes!"
Back stateside, the Democrats could not be happier with the way Romney's trip is turning out. Under the subject line, "OMG," the Democratic National Committee last night circulated nearly two dozen negative headlines in domestic and foreign news outlets. And this morning the DNC released a new web video reviewing some of that coverage titled, "#RomneyShambles."
As the great Bard once wrote, all of this may be "much ado about nothing" -- a momentary fixation by a British and American press corps hungry for more substance from Romney's foreign trip that the candidate and his campaign seem unwilling to offer. But if diplomacy were an Olympic sport, Romney would most certainly not be taking home the gold.