LONDON -- A day after he declared he was "not ashamed of American power" and cast himself as an "unapologetic believer in the greatness of this country," Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney landed on foreign soil this morning to begin his seven-day, three-country overseas tour.
"The President's policies have made it harder to recover from the deepest recession in seventy years, exposed the military to cuts that no one can justify, compromised our national-security secrets, and in dealings with other nations, given trust where it is not earned, insult where it is not deserved, and apology where it is not due," Romney said in his speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Reno, Nevada yesterday. "From Berlin to Cairo to the United Nations, President Obama has shared his view of America and its place among nations. I have come here today to share mine."
But this trip forces Romney to put the tough talk on mute as he travels from Great Britain to Israel and to Poland over the next week. Greeting Romney this morning in London, however, is this headline in The Daily Telegraph: "Mitt Romney would restore 'Anglo-Saxon' relations between Britain and America." The story quotes an unnamed Romney adviser who says, "We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special. The White House didn't fully appreciate the shared history we have."
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Another adviser referred to President Obama as a "left winger" who "doesn't value the NATO alliance as much" and who is "very comfortable with American decline."
The timing and undertones of the quotes represent something of a sticky wicket for Romney just hours after he landed here. As the Telegraph's Jon Swaine notes, "advisers spoke on the condition of anonymity because Mr. Romney's campaign requested that they not criticise the President to foreign media." The first few days of Romney's visit will include meetings with British officials, including Prime Minister David Cameron, and some Olympics-related appearances, including at Friday's opening ceremonies.
But Romney's trip comes against the backdrop of difficult foreign policy issues, including the crisis in Syria that grows more complicated and bloody by the day. Romney will have to walk a fine line over the next few days as he attempts to look statesmanlike but respectful to the current administration.