Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney may have sparked his first international incident in an interview with NBC News while overseas. Romney is visiting the United Kingdom as part of a global tour that will take him to Poland and Israel before heading home for the GOP nominating convention. While in England, Romney sat down with NBC News anchor Brian Williams and said that he saw “disconcerting” signs that England is not ready for the Olympics, both in the nation’s security preparations and the public’s enthusiasm for the games.
“It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out,” Romney said after being asked if the United Kingdom was ready for the Olympics. “There are a few things that were disconcerting – the stories about the private security firm not having enough people, supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials. That, obviously, is not something which is encouraging.”
Romney said that there were three key aspects to a successful Olympic games; the security, the volunteers and an enthusiastic public in the host nation. “Do they come together and celebrate the Olympic moment,” asked Romney. “That’s something which we only find out once the Games actually begin.”
In a press conference with U.K. Prime Minster David Cameron, Romney backtracked on his criticisms. “Of course there will be errors from time to time, but those are all overshadowed by the extraordinary demonstrations of courage, character and determination by the athletes,” he said.
The Telegraph notes that “Mr. Romney will receive a lukewarm reception in London.” On Wednesday, The Telegraph reported that an unnamed Romney advisor said that Romney understands and would restore America’s Anglo-Saxon heritage.
h/t U.K. Telegraph