Mitt Romney concluded his trip overseas to England, Israel, and Poland Tuesday and the headlines reverberating across the pond are not of his foreign policy pronouncements, but of gaffes and, today, limited press access.
During his three nation trip, the presumptive GOP nominee held one press conference, which took place outside of 10 Downing Street in London, and only took three questions from the traveling press. Romney did eight network interviews during the trip, including one with ABC News’ David Muir in Israel.
But the majority of the press traveling with Romney only got the one chance to ask him any questions. It was their attempts to yell questions at him before a visit to the Polish Tomb of the Unknown Soldier that led to the “kiss my ass” dust-up between Romney’s press secretary and reporters.
So, how does that compare to then-Sen. Obama’s trip overseas in July 2008? Obama’s trip stopped in more countries: Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan, Israel, France, England, and Germany and he held four press conferences during the trip where he took at least 25 questions, according to the Obama campaign. Obama did seven network interviews during his trip.
When running against Obama, Sen. John McCain also went on an overseas trip to Iraq, Jordan, Israel, France and England, but it was a congressional delegation joined by Sen. Joe Lieberman and Sen. Lindsey Graham, which is very different than a campaign trip (although McCain did hold a campaign fundraiser while visiting London, not part of the congressional trip.) McCain did speak to the press several times throughout the trip, but a pooled congressional delegation trip is not a direct comparison to a campaign overseas trip.
What is a direct comparison is the number of press conferences both candidates have given since Rick Santorum dropped out on April 10th making this election a two man race. Obama has held five press availabilities plus answered shouted questions from the press during at least two other White House events, equaling seven times. Romney’s number is similar. He’s held eight press conferences since Santorum got out of the race.
The next stop for Romney is on U.S. soil, in Colorado, on Thursday. Friday, comes the jobs report and it’s one eagerly anticipated by the Romney campaign in order to hopefully change the narrative.
**UPDATE: The Romney campaign passes on to ABC News a break down of how many questions the candidate took from reporters in his eight network television interviews: 148. We do not have a break down of how many questions Obama took in his seven sit down interviews in 2008 so it’s not an exact comparison.
ABC News’ Devin Dwyer, Emily Friedman, Christopher Good, and Michael Falcone contributed to this report.