PResidential PRessure cooker

Mitt Romney and his campaign team created an opportunity to demonstrate the presidential candidate’s international chops this week. A well-timed trip to London, then Israel, and then Poland, was planned to give Romney an international stage 100 days before the election. But when he arrived in London, he forgot one of the Golden Rules: ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all.’ His criticism of the country in which he had just landed created a bit of a PR problem.

To be sure, these trips are part of a well-executed public relations effort. This isn’t to minimize the importance of such visits for a candidate, nor does it belittle public relations as a way to create, reinforce or change attitudes. But we can understand that international travel is a proven recipe in the pressure cooker that is a presidential campaign. When mistakes are made, they can be costly.

“On a trip intended to prove that Romney was capable of appearing presidential overseas,” wrote Alon Harish of ABC News, “the former Massachusetts governor made himself the target of hostile British headlines and rebukes by the British prime minister after he publicly questioned (during an NBC interview) organizers’ preparedness for the 2012 Olympics.” Harish went on to observe, “In a sign that the campaign may be anxious about the risk of another gaffe, a campaign spokesman announced…that (a) fundraiser, which will be attended by some of Romney’s biggest bankrollers…will be off limits to the press. With that move, the campaign reneged on a commitment it made in April to allow a pool of reporters to cover all Romney fundraisers held in public venues.”

In an effort to be more cautious, Mr. Romney’s team may have made an uncomfortable situation worse. Closing the doors to the public might easily be interpreted as a statement of uncertainty, an image that a candidate certainly hopes to avoid. But the London gaffe served to magnify a campaign truism: Candidates must be so careful about every word they utter, every venue in which they appear, and every move they make during a campaign. It’s not an easy task. Your thoughts?

5 thoughts on “PResidential PRessure cooker

  1. Minyvonne Burke

    Poor Romney. I’m starting to feel bad for him but he should already know that every word he utters will be magnified. He could of said anything else instead of saying how he doesn’t think London is prepared. Of course someone somewhere was going to take offense.

  2. Abdul

    This was an EPIC FAIL in a move to emulate Obama’s euro trip during his initial presidential campaign. Seems like Romney is a PR nightmare every time he opens his mouth.

  3. STELLA HUANG (@stellasihuang)

    Romney was stupid in London. But he himself might not think so. He disrespected the British but did nothing to save his image. Then he went to Israel presenting himself as the best friend of Israel. I personally saw kind of dishonesty from his smiling face. Who knows what he was really thinking about Israel. Once lost public trust and did nothing to save, Romney can hardly gain trust again.

  4. Ty

    Hey, I have a great idea. Lets walk into someones home and tell them that the decor sucks, and they should have ordered pizza from Grimaldi’s instead of
    Umberto’s. That’s essentially what Romney did. Poor move, bad judgement…but I actually think he doesn’t care if he offended anyone at all.

  5. Bert Cunningham

    Romney turned what should have been a home run in London into a strike out. As someone who ran an Olympic competition all he had to do was cheerlead the London games. In doing so, it would have generated positive press and perhaps even some mentions of the successful games he headed. Instead he got two days of bad press and negative public opinion overseas. That’s no way to win friends abroad or votes at home.


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