LONDON -- July 26, 2012 -- LONDON -- Mitt Romney has only been on British soil for 24 hours, but he and his campaign are quickly finding out that every word matters.
Even before he touched down, a quote by an unnamed Romney adviser in London's Daily Telegraph newspaper was already creating a stir. The "adviser" suggested that the Republican candidate had a greater appreciation for the U.S. and Britain's shared "Anglo-Saxon heritage" than President Obama, was already creating a stir.
The row -- as the Brits would call it -- took almost no time to reach Americans shores, setting off a virtual shouting match between the Obama and Romney campaigns that drew a reaction from Vice President Joe Biden who accused his opponent's campaign of "playing politics with international diplomacy."
Team Romney distanced itself from the quote and, in an interview with NBC News' Brian Williams. Romney did some damage control as well: "I can tell you that we have a very special relationship between the United States and Great Britain. It goes back to our very beginnings-- cultural and-- and-- historical. But I also believe the president understands that. So I-- I don't agree with whoever that advisor might be.")
In London today, Romney has a full slate of meetings. Earlier he sat down with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, current Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband, Foreign Secretary William Hague, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and he will also meet with Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne before the day is over.
But don't expect to hear much from the presumptive Republican nominee today -- most of the events are photo ops only. The candidate does have at least three policy sherpas along for his meetings -- former Lt. Gov Kerry Healey from Massachusetts, former Missouri Sen. Jim Talent, who serves as a foreign policy adviser to the campaign, and the campaign's Policy Director Lanhee Chen.
Before his meeting with Blair, Romney said he was "looking forward to the chance to see at least one" Olympic event. (Both men plan to attend tomorrow night's opening ceremonies.)
"I'm hoping to see at least one swimming event," Romney told Blair. "And my wife has a horse competing in the equestrian events, in dressage. Her horse was chosen number three of all U.S. horses, so she's very pleased to be a part of that."
And it's evident that Romney will try to avoid any more potholes on his journey from England to Israel and to Poland. During a meeting with Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, a British reporter asked both Miliband and Romney for their views on current British economic policy.
"While I'm on foreign soil, I'm very careful not to be critical of my own government's policies," Romney said. "I would be even more remiss if I were to be critical to any other government's policies. I will instead look forward to an exchange of ideas."