Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney recently returned from a trip to Great Britain, Israel, and Poland, where he met with foreign leaders and hosted fundraising events. The trip allowed voters to see how Romney, a former governor with little foreign policy experience, behaved on the global stage. It also gave Romney the opportunity to endear himself to British, Jewish, and Polish communities within the United States.
Romney kicked off the trip in London, host city of the Summer Olympics, where he could direct attention to his own experience planning the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. But the trip did not go off without a hitch. Romney made a number of gaffes along the way, garnering him criticism from both the American and foreign press. In London, he questioned the city's preparedness for the Olympic Games—and was swiftly rebutted by both the city's mayor, Boris Johnson, and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron. In a speech in Israel, Romney suggested that Israel's economic strength was due to a cultural superiority over Palestine, drawing backlash from Palestinian activists.
Gaffes aside, Romney gave a stirring speech in Israel (which President Obama has not yet visited as president) and raked in an estimated $1 million at a single fundraiser. For better or for worse, he also had the chance to distinguish himself from the president in his approach to foreign policy. Did Romney's foreign trip help his presidential bid? Here is the Debate Club's take.
Brandon Rottinghaus Associate Professor at the University of Houston