The shattering, nattering, chattering gaggle that constitutes the nation's political press has pronounced former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's trip to Europe a failure.
It's not that Romney was not greeted with the same kinds of adoring throngs that turned out for then Sen. Barack Obama when he went there in 2008. No, it's that Romney once again showed himself to be, according to their analysis, out of touch and, more importantly, gaffe prone.
In case there is any doubt, this narrative was written even before Romney left the United States. Obama's friends in the media are beginning to wonder whether "their guy" can win a second term so they decided to nudge things along. Remember that before Romney left for London, the "big" campaign story continued to be Obama's "you didn't build it" gaffe. As an insult to the American entrepreneurial spirit, it is without peer, not to mention being a potentially fatal wound to the president's re-election bid. In one unforgettable phrase Obama told tens if not hundreds of thousands of hard working Americans who are seeking to build better lives for themselves and their children that their contributions didn't count. The Romney campaign, the Republican National Committee, and various political groups all seized on the comment as "Exhibit A" that it is President Obama, not Mitt Romney, who is really out of touch with American people.
The campaign appeared to be working, as evidenced by the fact that it was all anyone—Republican or Democrat, politician or pundit—was talking about, hence the need to change the storyline. So the media set about creating the image of Romney running around Europe sticking his foot in his mouth.
Was it wrong to raise questions about the security of the Olympics, especially when you yourself had been in charge of a similar event less than a decade ago? No. Undiplomatically phrased, perhaps, but not wrong—and certainly not a "gaffe." And making a public statement about meeting with the head of MI6, Britain's secret intelligence organization, is not exactly on par with a promise to campaign in "all 57 states," as Obama did in 2008. The president needed the playing field to be leveled. And his friends in the media cheerfully took on the task.
- Read the U.S. News Debate: Did Romney Help Himself on His Trip to Britain, Israel, and Poland?
- Follow the Thomas Jefferson Street blog on Twitter at @TJSBlog.
- Check out U.S. News Weekly: an insider's guide to politics and policy.