Last Updated:December 1 @ 09:13 pm

Romney trip to build ties with foreign leaders

By Kasie Hunt

LONDON (AP) - With the Olympic Games as a backdrop, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Thursday plunged into a series of meetings with British leaders, including Prime Minister David Cameron.

The likely GOP nominee sought to send a message that he recognizes the close bonds between the U.S. and its top ally - and to project an image of leadership.

"The world is a tumultuous and dangerous place," Romney said Thursday. "And certainly in many of the regions around the world we have great interests in having a common effort in seeing greater peace and prosperity." As he met with British leaders past and present, the Republican also praised "the unique relationship that exists between our nations, our commitment to common values, our commitment to peace in the world and a desire to see a stronger and growing economy."

Romney, whose decades in private business gave him ample exposure to international affairs, is a former one-term governor untested on the world's political stage. He hopes to convince voters back home that he is no novice on foreign affairs and that they should elect him as president in a complex world and with the U.S. facing a myriad of security threats.

Meeting with British officials is typically one of the first priorities of any new president, and establishing those relationships beforehand can help smooth any transition. It's not unusual for American presidential candidates to meet with British leaders during the campaign; Obama did so when he took a trip abroad as the likely Democratic nominee in 2008.

Romney's weeklong overseas trip will also take him to Israel and Poland.

As Thursday began, former Prime Minister Tony Blair hosted Romney at his private office few blocks off Hyde Park. The former Labour Party prime minister now serves as a special envoy to the Middle East, and the Romney campaign said the two men discussed the Middle East peace process, the situation in Syria, Iran and the wider region. They also discussed economic issues facing both countries, and chatted about the upcoming Olympic competitions.

Romney then met with Ed Miliband, the current leader of the Labour Party - the opposition to Cameron's Conservative Party. Before that session, Miliband invited two reporters from what he called "my side" to ask questions, although Romney declined to take questions from American journalists.

Romney then moved on to a meeting with Foreign Secretary William Hague. The candidate was also slated to meet with Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, Britain's top financial official.

Romney also will spend part of his time in London raising money and highlighting a key part of his resume - the successful Salt Lake City Olympics he managed - with an appearance Friday at the opening ceremonies of the London Games.

This isn't Romney's first meeting with Cameron; the two also talked during a Romney visit to London in 2011. This year, Cameron traveled to the U.S., where he met Obama and attended a state dinner in Washington but did not meet with Romney.

Romney's meeting with a deputy prime minister is somewhat unusual. It's happening because Britain has a coalition government, and Clegg's Liberal Democrats govern alongside Cameron's Conservative party.

The meetings come a day after the Daily Telegraph newspaper published a story quoting an unidentified Romney campaign adviser saying the Republican believes the U.S. relationship with Britain is special because of shared "Anglo-Saxon heritage" and the White House doesn't appreciate that shared history.

Romney, however, quickly distanced himself from any such view.

"I don't agree with whoever that adviser might be," Romney told NBC News, "but do agree that we have a very common bond between ourselves and Great Britain."

Nonetheless, Vice President Joe Biden and top Obama aides criticized Romney. "The comments reported this morning are a disturbing start to a trip designed to demonstrate Gov. Romney's readiness to represent the United States on the world's stage," Biden said.

Later Thursday, Romney planned to hold a high-dollar fundraiser at the swanky Mandarin Oriental hotel in London's tony Knightsbridge district. One of the hosts of that fundraiser, former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond, withdrew from the event after he resigned in the wake of a rate-rigging scandal wracking British banks.

Accompanying Romney to some of his meetings Thursday were former Missouri Sen. Jim Talent, an adviser, and Kerry Healey, who served as lieutenant governor when Romney was governor of Massachusetts. Three of Romney's sons - Tagg, Josh and Craig - have also joined him in London.

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  1. lwessonComment by lwesson
    July 26, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

    It is very worrisome that a plain, a simple FACT, is dispensed with, by Romney, in England no less! His aide, adviser, whatever, is correct. But being correct, does not mean being, POLITICALLY CORRECT. Thanks Mitts for being so quickly PC.

    Winston Churchill, would have agreed with this comment, of the deep bonds of an Anglo-Saxon heritage of the US with the Mother Country of England. Winston likely said this repeatedly. Of course, Winston’s bronze statue, was immediately removed by the first Black President, His Majesty Obama, from the Oval Office, and sent back to England, as one of Obama’s first bold diplomatic moves!

    What the LEFT–Communists have effectively done, along with Internationalism–Globalism & Corporate Globalism, is a disembowelment of what constitutes The People in a Nation, turning the populace into useful, manipulated, interchangeable WIDGITS. IF those people are White, especially if they are White, their history, culture, race, are dismissed, rewritten, and regarded as evil. This is the magical reason, Obama and his Base, can freely prattle on about Black this, and Black that, or tell Hispanics that the Republicans are the ENEMY and to punish them… . Painful truth in an age of tyranny.

    May I ask as a curiosity, who are, exactly, the Irish, Scots, Welsh? No. I may not ask that without PC peril.

    If you love double standards, stick around. Looks like we are off to a good start for PC BS.

    PS: It is a shame that Romney could not also visit Russia, being so close. There is no need for such slights with a World power, that we are no longer at (cold) war with, unless we want a kind of perpetual 1984 war, to keep our focus elsewhere.

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  2. middlegroundComment by middleground
    July 26, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

    Interesting that no one cited the fact that it was Romney who put the Winter Olympics in Utah on a sound financial basis, and I’m sure he must have enjoyed seeing how the Brits are handling the costs and security in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

    I’m not a Mormon, but their attitude to community and family is very admirable considering the problems in our present society. I returned to Oregon after a 50 year absence and was intrigued by a story related to me by someone from Hood River, Oregon, about how the Mormons in the community had looked after the orchards of the Japanese Americans who were interned during WWII, returning them after the war in an improved condition. After all the stories of opportunists seizing the land and boats when these citizens were sent off to internment camps, I found this a great community responsibility story.

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    • lwessonComment by lwesson
      July 27, 2012 @ 7:41 am

      The Media, said nothing much about Romney per his taking over the failing Utah Winter Olympics, and turning it around. Romney is in a most unique position to actually having the intellectual right to have opinions, discussions, about the London performance. He should point this out, as reporters are looking for ways, to make him look bad.

      Charles Krauthammer, seemed dumbstruck that Romney would say anything, but fawning praise for the British Olympic efforts, thus creating another politico, used car salesman, moment.

      The Brits, being rather touchy, for very good reason, snarked about the Utah Winter Olympics being out in barren territory, bla bla bla. Certainly a barren area of multitudes of Aliens, hostile to America! It is amusing that The British Army is being employed in the thousands for security! That says much as to the extremely sorry situation that exists in “Great” Briton.

      Rest assured that our Media, will not explore this issue, sharing a taste for our future. No, it will be the usual, internationalist pablum. No offending Greek, will be tolerated, in the diversity universe. No negative remarks about the freakishly bizarre, otherworldly, Telitubbyish, one eyed mascots. Small wonder that athletes hate these things. Beautiful Utah, is at least barren of such monstrosities.

      My Sister, still vividly recalls her visit to Jolly Olde London, 20 years ago, where she and her friends, innocently walked into a part of London that was so un British. It was such a dangerous area, that undercover police in an unmarked van took them back to their hotel, telling them to NOT return to that area, for their own safety! She, like me, would prefer Utah.

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