By TOM RAUM, Associated Press
Mitt Romney is heading across the Atlantic to try to showcase his foreign policy and national security leadership potential. It might be the right place but the message may be a little off.
Europe's festering debt crisis remains a top reason the U.S. economic recovery is so sluggish.
And handling the economy — not foreign policy — remains the Republican presidential candidate's strongest card, polls show.
That's despite the nonstop hammering of him by President Barack Obama's campaign on outsourcing jobs by Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney co-founded, and his refusal to release more tax returns.
A new USA Today-Gallup poll shows 63 percent of those surveyed believe Romney's business record, including his tenure at Bain, would lead him to make good decisions on economic problems, not bad ones. Just 29 percent said it would not.
Meanwhile, polls show Obama leading on most foreign policy and national defense issues.
Romney was setting the stage for his trip by addressing the annual convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nev., arguing that Obama — who addressed the VFW Monday — has relinquished U.S. world leadership.
Still, with economic strife in Europe and elsewhere worse than here, the U.S. dollar and Treasury bonds have become international safe-haven investments.
Romney leaves Wednesday. His first stop is Britain, which recently joined many European neighbors by slipping back into recession.
American presidents almost always focus back home when they travel abroad. It is likely candidate Romney will too and the U.S. economy will no doubt stay in his sights.
His successful running of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City will doubtless come up as he helps London celebrate the summer games.
Romney also will visit Israel and Poland. Obama campaigned Tuesday in Oregon and Washington.
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