Mitt Romney got back to the USA after his magical misery tour through Britain, Israel and Poland and promptly decamped to the Midwest swing states where his poll numbers have been dipping precipitously.
The goal of a foreign policy tour in the middle of an American campaign is to appear presidential – a subtle psychological reinforcement of the idea that the man can be trusted to represent the nation on the world stage.
The famously risk-averse Romney had scheduled what should have been a seamless tour, starting with a visit to the Olympics - a beloved cornerstone of his campaign biography as a turnaround artist. But as British readers know all too well, things didn't quite work out as intended.
When the leading British Conservatives – Prime Minister David Cameron and Mayor Boris Johnson – disrespect the visiting conservative presidential candidate, you know things have gone horribly wrong.
Team Romney was on the defensive for the rest of the trip, with meticulous photo opportunities spoiled by unforced errors. My personal favourite came courtesy of an over-zealous aide who rebuked the travelling press corps for shouting questions at the candidate after he deposited a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw.
"Kiss my ass," shouted the Romney spokesman. "This is a holy site for the Polish people. Show some respect."
Martin Scorsese couldn't have written better dialogue. Read on and comment » | John Avlon, American Way | Saturday, August 04, 2012