The UK has a popular television series called An Idiot Abroad in which hapless presenter Karl Pilkington unwillingly travels the globe while his mischievous colleagues (Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant) stay behind and monitor his progress — with predictably chaotic results.
However, there are no excuses for the latest idiot abroad — presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who disgraced himself in the UK with repeated gaffes and insults.
Not even Mr. Bean, in his holiday adventures, could quite match Romney’s record, which now has its own dedicated Twitter page. Former newspaper editor and political presenter Andrew Neil scathingly tweeted, ”Romney visit to London must be the worst of any presidential candidate in living memory.”
Firstly, Romney questioned the UK’s readiness to stage the Olympics and was promptly smashed down by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, who wittily told an audience of 64,000 in Hyde Park, “There's a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know if we are ready. Are we ready? Yes we are!” He then led the crowd chanting, "Yes we can," reprising Obama's famous 2008 campaign slogan.
It didn’t help when a Romney campaign official then retorted that Boris is an "eccentric, odd fellow." This is the same Boris who recently won re-election to one of the most prestigious political posts in the UK — something Romney would do well to reflect on.
Prime Minister David Cameron was even more scathing: "We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world Of course it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere." Could that have been a sly dig at Romney, who hosted the Winter Olympics in Utah, in 2002?
The Republican presidential candidate also raised eyebrows on Thursday by referring to Labour leader Ed Miliband as “Mr. Leader,” which sounded alien here. Romney also appeared to breach protocol by disclosing that he had met Sir John Sawers, the Secret Intelligence Service chief. Romney then talked of “looking out of the backside of 10 Downing Street” (the Prime Minister’s residence) ,which led some to wonder if he was talking out of his own ass! Another day, another faux pas. Small womder he has been nicknamed Mitt the Twit.
But Americans, do not despair: Michelle Obama is also here, leading the US Olympic delegation. She is representing her country with all the charm, warmth, and impeccable courtesy we have come to expect of her.
Not even Mr Bean could match Romney's record gaffes: