U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been getting a pasting here for comments he made about the London Olympics. Even the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, James Naughtie, declared that Romney looked “a bit stupid” and had “really put his foot in it” (about 7:17 in here).
Romney has experience of organising an Olympics, having been brought in to clean up and run the Salt Lake City winter Games after the corruption scandal there. Here’s what he actually said in his interview with NBC News, according to the official transcript…
And in the short time you’ve been here in London, do they look ready to your experienced eye?
You know, it’s hard to know just how well it were turn out– will turn out. There are a few things that were disconcerting, the stories about the– private security firm not having enough people– the sup– supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging. Because in the games, there– there are three parts that makes games successful.
Number one, of course, are the athletes. That’s what overwhelmingly the games are about. Number two are the volunteers. And they’ll have great volunteers here. But number three are the people of the– of the country. Do they come together and celebrate the Olympic moment? And that’s something which we only find out once the games actually begin.
It seems spectacularly uncontroversial stuff. I bet much stronger language than “disconcerting” was used by members of the British government when they discovered they were several thousand security guards short with only a few weeks to go.