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John Avlon
July 31st, 2012
08:53 PM ET

OutFront Political Strike Team splits on Romney's overseas trip

After a series of gaffe's made by Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney overseas, many are wondering whether Romney's overseas trip was a success or an epic failure.

Our OutFront Political Strike team weighed in on whether Romney would have been better off staying home.

LZ Granderson: Yes, he should have stayed home and not just because of the missteps. It's 100 days from the election, and all week he's been off message, which, for him is the economy. Plus the timing... he flees the country as members in his base are raising questions about Bain and taxes. Not a good look at all

Linda Killian: Yes – The average American voters and Independents probably aren't paying much attention to what he had to say abroad – or probably won't care much when they do hear about the remarks. But for those who care about foreign policy expertise Romney didn't look ready for prime time. The trip was designed to make him look like a statesman and appeal to Jewish voters and it probably didn't accomplish those goals.

Scott Wong: NO, Romney needed to prove he could perform on the world stage. But he needed to be better prepared and better staffed on this trip.

Gloria Borger: No…a foreign trip is theoretically a good idea for a candidate with largely domestic policy experience. It was a good idea for Barack Obama, for instance, in July, 2008. In this case, however, the efforts to control message tightly backfired…and Romney himself made some missteps, especially in London.

Dante Chinni: Yes. It feels like even the places where he made some positive headlines – Israel and Poland – he said things he shouldn't have said that required him to backtrack. His best hope is people weren't paying attention. That is not a positive trip.

Krist Novoselic: NO. It's a Cold War notion that the President of the United States is the leader of the free world. Today, for better or worse, the U.S. acts as world policeman. That said, candidates for president need to strut their stuff on the world stage. It's good that Romney went abroad if only to bring U.S. foreign policy into the campaign. It's up to voters to determine the extent and value of our position as Globo-Cop.

Andy Serwer: Yes, I think so. Of course the point of going overseas was to give him more foreign policy cred. I don't think he accomplished that.

Mark Preston: No. While these missteps make for less than desirable daily headlines – come November these incidences will be forgotten. The election is going to be won or lost on the economy. Romney needed to show that he could make a trip overseas and get an audience with world leaders. For that, he succeeded. The embarrassing missteps will not necessarily be forgotten, but they will not influence a person’s vote.

Norman J. Ornstein: Of course he would have. It may not matter much in the larger scheme of things, but several days of missteps, insensitive and out-of-touch comments, and a total lack of understanding of foreign policy surely don't help.

Taegan Goddard: Yes. Every day Romney spends talking about something other than the economy plays right into the Obama campaign strategy.

Lisa Borders: Yes, Mitt Romney should have stayed home and let Americans wonder about his values and vision. There are legitimate concerns about his ability to lead the U.S. and the free world based on his myopic, insensitive and often misinformed perspectives. His statements have helped validate these concerns.

Kyle Leighton: Yes, at this point. But he had to make the trip, due to politics - Obama has consistently polled as the better choice on foreign policy, one of the most consistent trends during the campaign: U.S. President ('12) Foreign Policy. So the trip has exacerbated the problem, but the numbers showed he really had no choice by to make it.

Marin Cogan: Yes, Romney would have been better off staying home. Before this trip, we didn't really know how gaffe-prone he'd be on foreign policy issues. And the frosty relationship with the press probably isn't helping the coverage any.

Omar Ali: No. In our largely he said-he said partisan-driven political culture, negativity will trump positive messages and efforts to create meaningful dialogue every time. From the perspective of the Republican Party, raising more money in the immediate future is key to their partisan success. Towards this end, Romney's latest comments were not necessarily missteps but ways of galvanizing particular interests in order to raise big bucks. How? By presenting himself as the experienced and successful executive manager regarding the Olympics and the tough, pro-Israel (anti-Palestine) candidate. While such negativity rallies certain–notably, small–segments of the electorate to pull out their checkbooks, it adds to the corrosion our nation's political health. The reason why so many people are abandoning their partisan affiliation (currently 4 out of 10 voters are now independent) is because of widespread and increasing recognition that the parties are more interested in winning (and keeping their offices) than creating healthy, meaningful dialogue for the nation's development.

Maegan Carberry: No. Romney's trip overseas took the focus off of his tax returns, which was a major victory for his team. (Although simply releasing them was another way to kill that story, come to think of it.) Going abroad when you're running for President to showcase your diplomatic chops is a solid move, and it was fine when Obama did it too. If you're gonna go, however, it's probably not the best idea to cause a commotion at every stop along the way. Even if Team Romney wants to blame the media for jumping on sensational sound bytes, managing the press is part of a president's job. All the bases were loaded with this trip, the candidate just failed to hit a home run,

Candy Crowley: No. Romney’s trip was never going to convince Democrats and I'm not sure the small pool of swing voters out there is paying much attention yet.

But, the trip may well have succeeded in:

a) Proving to (not-so-Mitt-crazy) conservative Christians Romney's affinity with Israel and

b) Further convincing Republicans that the media is pro – Obama

a) and b) soothes and activates the GOP base and an activated base goes to the polls.

Ken Vogel: Not necessarily. He was having a rough go of it here, as well, in the couple weeks before heading abroad.

Carlos Sierra: No. As a candidate with no foreign policy experience, besides being an expert on overseas tax shelters, he had to make this trip. Unfortunately, Governor Romney has proven it doesn't matter what country he is in, he's going to screw up. One mishap can be seen as a net positive. He created a controversy within the Palestinian community which can be interpreted as a smart and calculated political move to help win over Jewish voters. Although traditionally Democrat, the Jewish vote could put him over the top in a few swing states, primarily Florida.

David Walker: Possibly, because the election will be decided on the issues of the economy, jobs and fiscal responsibility. Both Presidential candidates have a lot more work to do to provide the needed vision, substance and solutions to avoid a U.S. debt crisis and create a better future.


Filed under: 2012 Election • News • Political Strike Team • Politics
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