#USelections2012: Olympic shambles

This Week: Blunders abroad earn Romney Olympic scorn; Tweets hint at VP possibilities.

USelections2012 (photo credit: Supplied)
(photo credit: Supplied)
The early verdict on GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney’s foreign tour was in, replicated over 53,000 times on Twitter: #RomneyShambles. 
Visiting London at the opening of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games was supposed to remind US voters of Romney’s success rescuing the Salt Lake City winter games in 2002 and show his foreign policy poise as a leader who would not “apologize for America” abroad, as he accused his rival US President Barack Obama of doing.
But when Romney told NBC “it's hard to know just how well it will turn out,” calling the city’s Olympic preparation efforts “disconcerting,” the expected GOP nominee lost the good graces of the people (and press) of London.
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UK Prime Minister David Cameron jabbed back that “it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere," while London Mayor Boris Johnson derided “a guy called Mitt Romney” for his skepticism.  The British press had a field day, declaring “Mitt falls at first hurdle,” and “Who invited Party-pooper Romney?” and “Mitt the Twit” in their headlines. The Twittersphere, of course, joined in on the fun, complete with the custom hashtag:

The International Olympic Committee found the actions of both Romney and Obama unacceptable when each debuted Olympic-themed political ads, and requested that the campaigns pull them from the Web.
Fortunately for Romney, the post-Olympic portion of his trip proved easier: He was warmly greeted in Israel, where Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s relationship with Obama has been a constant headache for the Democratic incumbent, and moved on to a relatively smooth trip in Poland thereafter. He even managed to pick up $1 million at a Jerusalem fundraiser.
Back at home, his campaign managed to make more Twitter headlines of the positive kind. As anticipation mounts for the expected announcement of Romney’s vice presidential nominee, Beth Myers, in charge of Romney’s VP selection committee, got the whole country chatting with two little tweets. New to Twitter herself (her only previous tweet expressed excitement at heading up the search committee), Myers seemingly tipped her hand to the public in two messages containing the Twitter handles of 13 GOP bigwigs widely speculated to comprise the shortlist for the Number Two slot on the Republican ticket, alongside the hashtag #FF. (#FF stands for Follow Friday, a Twitter meme in which, each Friday, users recommend other Tweeters they deem worthy of following on the social media site.)
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The VP pick can be a make-or-break moment; former-US vice president Dick Cheney even went so far as to comment on Sen. John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin in 2008, dubbing the choice a “mistake.”

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Regardless of who Romney picks, however, he is at least moving forward with one important lesson after this week: Getting the gold in the presidential race requires speed, agility, and the ability to get back up after even the most embarrassing stumbles.
#USelections2012 offers weekly insight into the US presidential election through a social media lens, tracking candidates as they try to reach 270 electoral votes in 140 characters or less.

The writer is a Breaking News editor and blogger at The Jerusalem Post. Read his blog ‘The Bottom Line’ here.