Let The Games Begin: Mitt Romney Lands In London (The Note)

Rich Pedroncelli/AP Photo

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone ), ELIZABETH HARTFIELD ( @LizHartfield ) and CHRIS GOOD ( @c_good )


  • THE NOTE ON THE ROAD: The Note is in London this week where the entire city is bursting with Olympic excitement. But there's no shortage of hand-wringing either as the host city of the 2012 summer games begins to bear the brunt of security and traffic headaches. For Mitt Romney, who flew across the pond last night and arrived here this morning, London is the first stop on a three-country foreign trip that will also take him to Israel and Poland before he returns to the United States next week. Romney's top policy adviser, Lanhee Chen, said the candidate is taking time off the campaign trail to "learn and to listen," from foreign leaders. As the saying goes, "politics stops at the water's edge," and we won't be hearing any of the tough rhetoric Romney rolled out in his speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars conference in Nevada yesterday: "This is very simple: if you don't want America to be the strongest nation on earth, I am not your President," Romney said. "But with his cuts to the military, you have that President today."
  • EXCLUSIVE: U.S. CHAMBER UNLEASHES FIVE-STATE AD BLITZ. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will air new ads hitting five Democratic Senate candidates and incumbents, ABC's Chris Good reports. Targeting votes on health care, energy, and regulations, the Chamber will go after Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, Rep. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin. Last week, the Chamber aired ads in New Mexico, Hawaii, Nevada, and North Dakota. In Montana, for example, the ad says, "For Jon Tester, there's no hiding from the truth. He sided with Washington time and time again. Take the health care law. The people didn't want it, yet Senator Tester cast a deciding vote, forcing it on Montana…" The Chamber does not disclose its spending on particular ads, but in 2012 the group has promised its largest election-year investment to date, and its buy last week in New Mexico exceeded $200,000. WATCH the new ads : http://bit.ly/LM6QEl (Florida); http://bit.ly/Og8IVd (Montana); http://bit.ly/QA1RZg (New Mexico); http://bit.ly/O68ku0 (Ohio); http://bit.ly/MG44Sm (Wisconsin).
  • PRO-OBAMA SUPER PAC GOES FOR ROMNEY'S 'GOLD'. Timed to Romney's visit to London and the start of the 2012 games, the pro-Obama super PAC, Priorities USA, unveiled a minute-long ad this morning hitting Romney for outsourcing and his offshore investments. Set to footage of Romney participating in the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Salt Lake City games, a narrator says, "Welcome to the Olympics. There's Mitt Romney, who ran the Salt Lake City Games, waving to … China - home to a billion people. Thousands owe their jobs to Mitt Romney's companies. India, which also gained jobs thanks to Romney, an outsourcing pioneer. And Burma, where Romney had the uniforms made for the 2002 games. We know the Swiss have a special place in Mitt Romney's wallet - er - heart." Priorities plans to run the ad in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia during the Olympics as part of its existing $20 million television and online campaign. WATCH: http://abcn.ws/LNdC85


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." http://bit.ly/OwRqQ6

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.

BACK STATESIDE: NEW POLL SHOWS OBAMA AHEAD, BUT ANXIETY IS ON THE RISE. The Wall Street Journal's Neil King Jr. and Daniel Lippman report: "American voters are growing more polarized and locked in their views as they witness a presidential campaign that is boosting negative feelings about both candidates, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Tuesday shows. The poll also finds a resurgence of anxiety about the economy as job growth has slowed, though President Barack Obama maintains his edge on several fronts despite that. Half of registered voters feel less optimistic about the direction of the economy, with just 27% predicting the economy would improve over the next year-a sharp drop in optimism from recent months. Still, coming in the wake of several weeks of intense TV campaign advertising, much of it negative, the poll of 1,000 registered voters found Mr. Obama leading his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, 49% to 43%, a gap mirrored precisely in four other Journal/NBC polls over the last year." http://on.wsj.com/ LMogvQ


ABC's RICK KLEIN: What a difference a week makes. We've gone from Romney needing a Bain/taxes break so badly that only veep buzz could save him, to a revamped Obama messaging strategy driven by concerns that the president's all-important above-the-fray brand is losing potency. Now comes what should be a natural Romney moment, with the Olympics and a foreign trip designed to put him in settings as presidential as his hairline. He'll return in time for another monthly jobs report that will shift the campaign back toward big themes, and then more veepstakes speculation. Maybe not such a bad hot summer for the challenger after all.

ROMNEY CAMP CONTINUES 'YOU DIDN'T BUILD THAT' ATTACKS WITH SWING STATE EVENTS. ABC's Shushannah Walshe reports: Mitt Romney may be overseas, but his campaign is definitely not taking a pause, holding 24 events across 12 battleground states Wednesday all trying to take advantage of comments the president made last week. The Romney campaign has been heavily pressing their "you didn't build that" attacks for the past ten days and Wednesday is their biggest push yet with events with small business owners in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Virginia, Ohio, Iowa, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Nevada. http://abcn.ws/OZ7KsW

VIDEO OF THE DAY: ELTON JOHN SAYS GEORGE W. BUSH TAUGHT HIM A LESSON. In the latest episode of the ABC/Yahoo! Power Players series "Spinners & Winners" ABC's Jonathan Karl met up with pop star and AIDS activist Sir Elton John. John once called President George W. Bush "the worst thing that ever happened to America." But in his interview with Karl Sir Elton offers a different description of Bush: The U.S. President who has done most to fight AIDS. Asked directly what President has done more than any other to combat AIDS, John answered without hesitation: "George Bush." Elton John, who has been a leading activist on AIDS issues since the 1980s, gives President Bush credit for launching the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) a $15 billion program Bush signed into law in 2004 to provide treatment and prevention for millions of HIV-infected people in Africa. WATCH HERE: http://yhoo.it/Mlum8b


with Elizabeth Hartfield ( @LizHartfield)

ANN ROMNEY TO VISIT WALES. ABC's Shush Walshe reports, Ann Romney, who will soon cheer on her dressage horse and trainer at the London Summer Olympics, is making a side trip this weekend to Porthcawl, a seaside resort on the south coast of Wales, the Romney campaign confirms to ABC News. Romney's grandfather was a Welsh coal miner, and she and her husband often mention him on the stump…Mrs. Romney's grandfather, David Davies, came to Michigan from Wales in 1929. She not only mentions his humble roots on the campaign trail, she bakes her famous Welsh cakes while on the road. http://abcn.ws/NIIpGc

OBAMA: REPUBLICANS HAVE 'TIPPED A LITTLE BIT OVER THEIR SKIS' WITH ATTACKS. ABC's Devin Dwyer reports: President Obama went on the defensive on Tuesday over his understanding of small business owners, saying Republicans "may have tipped a little bit over their skis" in their attempts to use his words against him. "Earlier today Gov. Romney was at it again. He's been twisting my words around to suggest I don't value small business," Obama said of the presumptive GOP presidential nominee at a campaign fundraiser inside the Portland Convention Center, the second time in as many days he has hit back at the Republican attacks. http://abcn.ws/OY6VR1

JEB BUSH HEADING TO IOWA. File this one under 2016…or 2020. ABC's Shush Walshe reports, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is heading to Sioux City in October. He will be the keynote speaker at the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner on Oct. 8. A spokesperson for Bush confirms the speaking engagement, first reported by ABC News' Sioux City affiliate KCAU. http://abcn.ws/MG6z7t

BIDEN: WEALTHY DON'T NEED A TAX CUT. Vice President Joe Biden added his voice to the administration's arguments for limiting the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts to the middle class, saying that keeping the lower rates would cost $1 trillion over 10 years and "the wealthy do very, very well, thank you," according to ABC's Ann Compton. The Senate is scheduled to vote Wednesday on extending all the Bush-era tax cuts, including those for the wealthy, but President Obama has vowed to veto an across-the-board extension. http://abcn.ws/ Ox5E3p

FROM PAWNEE TO D.C. ABC's Julie Percha and Sunlen Miller report: Actors from the NBC show "Parks and Recreation" traded their fictional town of Pawnee, Ind., for Washington, D.C., last week to film an episode for the show's upcoming fifth season, including a stop on Capitol Hill to appear with some of Congress's long-standing senators. And there's a spoiler alert from inside the Beltway: The show's headline actress, former "Saturday Night Live" funny girl Amy Poehler and her co-stars aren't the only ones getting ready for their close-ups. Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Olympia Snowe, R- Maine, will also guest star in an episode that airs this fall. They'll all play themselves in cameo roles. http://abcn.ws/NRfEII

HOW SUPER PAC'S ARE SAVING MITT. The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake report: "Republican-aligned super PACs and other outside conservative groups have spent more than $144 million on general election ads in swing presidential states, a huge outlay of cash that has allowed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney to not only combat but exceed heavy early ad spending byPresident Obama. Roughly 80 percent of all ad spending by Republicans on the general election has come from these super PACs, as Romney has expended a relatively meager $35 million to date on ads in swing states, according to ad buy figures provided to the Fix by a GOP media buyer. By contrast, the $20 million that Democratic super PACs have spent on ads so far in the general election accounts for just 19 percent of total ad spending on the Democratic side. http://wapo.st/Quh8uH

LAWYERS RAKING IN CASH AS CAMPAIGN SPENDING HITS RECORDS. Bloomberg's Jonathan Salant reports: "The five law firms specializing in presidential campaigns have been paid $50 million since 1999 by candidates, political parties and political action committees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group that tracks campaign spending. As candidates forgo taxpayer campaign financing, which imposes spending limits, and dedicate unlimited sums to their races, the rate of payment is accelerating. The five firms' earnings from candidates, PACs, and party committees increased four times to more than $10 million through June 2012, up from $2.5 million for all of the 2000 campaign." http://bloom.bg/ NQWeBb

STATE SYSTEMS FOR OVERSEAS VOTERS VULNERABLE. USA Today's Martha Moore reports: "States trying to make it easier for troops overseas to vote have set up voting systems that are vulnerable to hacking when they allow voters to return ballots online, via e-mail, or Internet fax, says a state-by-state report to be released today. The report, Counting Votes 2012, by the Verified Voting Foundation and Common Cause Education Fund, says all states should require overseas ballots to be mailed because even faxed ballots can't be independently audited." http://usat.ly/ NUPVfJ

CONGRESS MAILS IT IN. The Hill's Ian Swanson reports: "UPS has delivered a stark warning to the White House and Congress that U.S. economic growth will fall to an anemic annual rate of 1 percent by Election Day. The company's leaders on Tuesday said U.S. businesses are in danger of going over the fiscal cliff because of Washington's inability to get anything done. The packaging company is often seen as a useful barometer for the broader business community. If business is bustling at UPS and the company's brown-uniformed drivers are hustling around the country and world to deliver packages, it is a sign of the economy's strength." http://bit.ly/ MG8gBL


with ABC's Arlette Saenz

ROMNEY SURROGATES FLOOD THE FIELD: Mitt Romney may be abroad, but his campaign is deploying a number of surrogates over the next week to make sure the presumptive GOP nominee's message is relayed to voters. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Virginia Gov. McDonnell will jump on a Romney campaign bus tour called the "We Did Build That" tour in Iowa Thursday to stump for Romney. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, also is expected to hold a rally, his first solo campaigning slot for Romney, iat his elementary school in Las Vegas Saturday. With Romney abroad through mind-next week, will we see any other surrogates/VP contenders on the trail for him? http://abcn.ws/Qid95j

T-PAW WOULD BE 'HONORED' TO BE VP: ABC News' Shushannah Walshe highlights this Tim Pawlenty interview with Hot Air's Ed Morrissey in which he says he'd be "honored" if asked to serve as Romney's vice president. "As for me I've been down this road before," Pawlenty said in an interview with Hot Air's Ed Morrissey. "Last time in 2008 I was on the short list. I really want to help Gov. Romney as I can as a volunteer. I think I can help him best in other ways, but obviously anybody would be honored to be asked to consider serving in such a position." The possible running mate did list the qualities that should be found in a vice president including "somebody who is ready to be president of the United States, has the requisite experience and maturity and judgment, discernment, wisdom, strength to be president and all the other characteristics you want to see in that office." http://bit.ly/MGoqt4

HEAD OF VP SEARCH KEEPS SECRET EVEN FROM FAMILY: ABC News' Chris Good reported on the head of Romney's VP search Beth Myers' attempsts to keep the vice presidential search process a secret, even from her family as they pepper her with questions at the dinner table. "Beth Myers, who is leading Mitt Romney's search for a running mate, rallied about 55 Republican women at a Mexican restaurant in Ashburn, Virginia, on Tuesday. While Myers gave few details on the search process and took no questions afterward, she did say she was pleased with Romney's options," Good wrote. "'This year we have a ton of qualified Republicans. It is amazing. It made my job really, really hard because it wasn't a year where there were three people who might fit the bill. We have a deep bench, including your governor,' Myers said, referring to Virginia's Gov. Bob McDonnell, who has been seen as a second tier possibility in Romney's search. Myers also listed prominent women who have worked with Romney and talked about selecting one to be his chief of staff. She also made light of the difficulty of keeping her work under wraps, particularly in a family setting. 'Wherever I go, and it's been very strange, I can't tell - because I'm a pretty open person - but I can't tell anybody about this at all,' Myers said. 'My children and husband are really kind of upset, because they - they'll start - I can sort of tell they're plotting against me, and they'll have like - dinner table - just a casual conversation, 'Gee, who would be a good VP?' And I just sit there silently.'" http://abcn.ws/ MGvQwr


@dgjackson : We are wheels down in London. Excited to be here to cheer on Team USA.

@JanEbeling : Got our credentials today, it all seems real now! London is a busy place, filled with people! We are all excited! #GoTeamUSA

@jimacostacnn : Romney sticker on Romney Street sign in London http://instagr.am/p/NgCuB0guTk/

@steveholland1 : After hearing Romney criticize looming defense cuts in VFW speech, you have to figure WH and Congress will figure out a way to avoid em.

@jeffzeleny : Sheldon Adelson's latest investment: "My Buyer's Remorse" ads to Jewish voters who regret their Obama vote. My story: http://nyti.ms/LMJEWF


-President Obama holds a fundraiser at the House of Blues in New Orleans this evening and later delivers remarks at the National Urban League Convention.

-Mitt Romney arrived in London, England this morning, but has no public events today. Tomorrow Romney holds a series of meeting with British officials.

-Vice President Joe Biden will address the 51st Annual International Association of Fire Fighters Convention in Philadelphia.

Check out The Note's Futures Calendar : http://abcn.ws/ZI9gV