The Ugly American: Mitt Romney’s Disastrous Overseas Excursion – The Daily Beast

A fundraiser was closed to the press, presumably to facilitate the candidate’s crass pandering, and perhaps to fend off a photo op with the Jabba the Hut of the campaign wars, casino plutocrat and Super Pac-Man Sheldon Adelson. Finally, the Romney strategists allowed a few reporters to attend, less they appear fearful that their candidate might blurt out another on-the-record political solecism.

A chastened Romney mostly stayed on course by bloviating ritual fealty of Israeli security, and denouncing “containment” of Iran as a “delusion.” (Of course, Barack Obama hasn’t ruled out force either, but that doesn’t matter to Romney.) The Republican nominee-to-be added the pretty standard, wholly pre-presidential endorsement of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He also skirted but didn’t transgress the off-limits line against criticizing American foreign policy abroad; his coded jibes at the president, never mentioned by name, were just veiled enough. 

Romney was programmed to be gaffe-free as he made a political pilgrimage to the Holy Land in search of the holy grail of Jewish votes back home. The programming was almost successful– and it was certainly a direct result of his previous stop on a not-so-grand journey. In Israel, Mitt was supposed to act like a mutt brought to heel after he earned the worst welcome in London since King Richard II was deposed following an ill-timed and inconclusive invasion of Ireland. Romney was in the stadium at the opening ceremony of the 30th Olympiad, sitting in a relative and blessed anonymity, a forced smile on his face. It had been a painful few days as he auditioned on the world stage for the most powerful job in the world.

Before he left for London, Romney’s campaign had decided that he shouldn’t be filmed watching his wife’s well-heeled dancing horse compete in the Dressage competition. The best laid plans: Instead it was Mitt himself who came up lame, hobbled and lacerated by his own tripping tongue. 

How could any politician with any modicum of sagacity—let alone someone who’s one election away from the Oval Office—venture abroad and question whether his host country was “ready” for the Olympics? Romney came across as simultaneously a know-nothing and a smug know-it-all—at least about the Olympic Games, which he seems to think he owns and which he has regularly treated like one of those enterprises taken over by Bain ever since he took over the 2002 Winter Games. 

via The Ugly American: Mitt Romney’s Disastrous Overseas Excursion – The Daily Beast.

Colorado cake shop refuses to bake a gay couple’s wedding cake, sparks outrage – Detroit liberal |

Anti-gay businesses across the country seem empowered in the wake of Chick-fil-A’s dastardly statements that they openly and proudly support anti-gay causes financially. Enter “Masterpiece Cake Shop” located in the quiet hamlet of Lakewood, Colorado. The owner, Jack Phillips, proudly proclaims that he did indeed deny a gay couple service and says he would rather close his store than bake a cake for a gay wedding.

Thousands of people across the nation are now calling for a boycott.

The open discrimination came when Charlie Craig and Dave Mullin say they went into the dubious establishment to order a cake for their wedding. The happy couple says they dated for over two years before they decided to celebrate their love with an official ceremony.

It has been locally reported by CBS Denver that Charlie Craig said, “My first comment was, ‘We’re getting married,’ and he (Phillips) just shut that down immediately.”

The accused bigot and discriminator, owner Jack Phillips, said in his defense, “If gays come in and want to order birthday cakes or any cakes for any occasion, graduations, or whatever, I have no prejudice against that whatsoever. It’s just the wedding cake, not the people, not their lifestyle. We would close down that bakery before we closed our beliefs, so that may be what it comes to … we’ll see.”

via Colorado cake shop refuses to bake a gay couple's wedding cake, sparks outrage – Detroit liberal |

Bush Appointee Strikes Down DOMA, Citing Historic Discrimination Against Gays And Lesbians | ThinkProgress

Another court has overturned the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, ruling in Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management that “no conceivable rational basis exists for the provision.” Judge Vanessa L. Bryant, a district judge in the Second Circuit appointed by President George W. Bush, therefore ruled that DOMA “violates the equal protection principles incorporated in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

The suit was brought by same-sex couples living in Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire who argued they were unfairly denied access to various programs available to other married couples. House Republicans, under the guise of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) and Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) leadership, intervened at taxpayer expense to defend the anti-gay statute. In her decision, Bryant took BLAG to task for attempting to rewrite the past by claiming that gays and lesbians have not been subject to discrimination throughout history:

via Bush Appointee Strikes Down DOMA, Citing Historic Discrimination Against Gays And Lesbians | ThinkProgress.

Mitt Romney aide’s gaffe exposes rift – Dylan Byers –

In one week abroad, Mitt Romney has managed to enrage both the Brits and the Palestinians. Now add to that roster his own press corps.

Over seven days in the UK, Israel and Poland, Romney held just one media availability for the U.S. traveling press — and even then, standing outside 10 Downing St. in London, he answered only three questions. While he gave a series of interviews to the major television networks, he granted no interviews to other U.S. outlets.

The snub has become the straw that broke the back of an already bitter press corps, long frustrated by limited access to the Republican candidate on the campaign trail. And those frustrations, which traveling reporters are voicing loud and clear online, are putting unprecedented pressure on the Romney campaign’s communications team.

via Mitt Romney aide's gaffe exposes rift – Dylan Byers –

Reid Claims Romney Paid No Taxes for 10 Years

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told the Huffington Post that a Bain Capital investor told him that Mitt Romney didn’t pay any taxes for at least a decade.

The person also told Reid that Romney’s wealth was significantly more than the $250 million estimated.

“Tellingly, neither Reid nor his office would reveal who the investor was, making it impossible to verify if the accusation is true. And as his quote makes clear, he’s uncertain if the information is accurate… But there is limited political downside to the type of open speculation that Reid is making, so long as Romney refuses to budge on the issue of his tax returns. Increasingly, other Democrats are growing more assertive in their goading.”

via Reid Claims Romney Paid No Taxes for 10 Years.

Rep. Hanna: Fellow Republicans indulge the party’s extreme members too much |

Syracuse — U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna took his own party to task today, saying the Republican Party is too willing to accommodate its most extreme members.

“I have to say that I’m frustrated by how much we — I mean the Republican Party — are willing to give deferential treatment to our extremes in this moment in history,” he told The Post-Standard editorial board.

Hanna, R-Barneveld, pointed specifically to Michele Bachmann of Minnesota — particularly her suggestion that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin be investigated to see if she has ties to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood that would compromise her loyalty.

Hanna, a businessman who defeated Democratic incumbent Michael Arcuri two years ago, said his first term in Congress left him “sad in a lot of ways” because of the growing divisiveness on both sides of the aisle.

“We render ourselves incapable of governing when all we do is take severe sides…” he said. “If all people do is go down there and join a team, and the team is invested in winning and you have something that looks very similar to the shirts and the skins, there’s not a lot of value there.”

While he blamed the dysfunction on both sides, he said he feels more bitterness coming from the Republican caucus than from the Democrats.

“I would say that the friends I have in the Democratic Party I find … much more congenial — a little less anger,” he said.

via Rep. Hanna: Fellow Republicans indulge the party's extreme members too much |

Romney aide berates reporters as GOP hopeful wraps up overseas trip – The Washington Post

WARSAW, Poland — Mitt Romney highlighted ties between the United States and Poland in a speech here Tuesday, hailing the European nation’s march toward fiscal austerity as a model for the rest of the world.

 Romney said a Polish leader told him during his visit that his country’s economic philosophy is, “You don’t borrow what you can’t pay back.” The presumptive Republican presidential nominee used the line to draw an implicit contrast with President Obama, saying the world — and, by definition, the United States — should emulate Poland’s economic and societal transformation toward smaller government.



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Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney ended his week-long overseas trip in Poland after some public relations missteps in Israel. He heads back to the U.S. Tuesday.

“Rather than heeding the false promise of a government-dominated economy, Poland sought to stimulate innovation, attract investment, expand trade and live within its means,” Romney said. “Your success today is a reminder that the principles of free enterprise can propel an economy and transform a society.”

But the White House hopeful’s overseas tour took another rocky turn on its final day, as a campaign spokesman cursed at journalists shouting questions at Romney.

Romney had just laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw’s Pilsudski Square, personally thanking and shaking hands with about 50 uniformed Polish soldiers who watched the silent ceremony. Then, in a gesture of gratitude, Romney pressed his hand to his heart and bowed his head.

As he walked back to his vehicle, he ignored reporters’ shouted questions. When a journalist noted that Romney has taken almost no questions from his traveling press corps throughout the foreign trip, Romney spokesman Rick Gorka retorted, “Kiss my ass.”

via Romney aide berates reporters as GOP hopeful wraps up overseas trip – The Washington Post.

Eugene Robinson: Romney stumbles through his world tour – The Washington Post

How is Mitt Romney’s summer vacation going? Fine, except for frequent pauses to remove foot from mouth.

He began his “Look At Me, I’m a Statesman” overseas tour by offending the people of the United Kingdom. To put it mildly, Romney is no genius at reading the mood of an audience. But even he realized things were not going well when he saw tabloid headlines such as “Mitt the Twit” and “Nowhere Man.”

Romney’s offense — he said there were “disconcerting” signs that London might not be ready to host the Olympics — was silly but not inconsequential. It actually revealed quite a lot about how the candidate sees himself and his place in the world.

What Romney knows about running the Olympics is exceeded only by what Romney thinks he knows about running the Olympics. As Prime Minister David Cameron obliquely noted, staging the games in London isn’t the same as staging them in Salt Lake City. British organizers are working amid the bustle of one of the great cities of the world, Cameron said, not out in “the middle of nowhere.”

Such distinctions are lost on Romney, about whom it is becoming possible to make a few generalizations. He tends to be arrogant about his accomplishments and dismissive of those who, in his estimation, fall short. He does not regard disparities in circumstances as relevant. Anyone who falls short of his achievements must be insufficiently smart or not a hard worker, and perhaps suffers from some moral debility as well.

Thus it doesn’t matter if you’re operating within the context of a small, empty city or a big, crowded one. It doesn’t matter if you are, say, the son of a wealthy corporate titan who became a prominent governor, or the son of a single mother who lives in public housing. Romney earned $250 million and has a dressage horse competing in the Olympics, and, therefore, you can too.

via Eugene Robinson: Romney stumbles through his world tour – The Washington Post.

Romney to Announce VP Pick Via App – App can gather info on his supporters

NEWSER) – Want to be the first to know Mitt Romney’s running mate? There’s an app for that. The Romney campaign has released a new “Mitt’s VP” app, which it’s billing as a way to “be the first to know the second member of America’s Comeback Team.” Users of the app, which is available for iPhone and Android, will get an “instantaneous alert” when Romney announces his decision, the Hill reports.

Users will also be able to share the news to their social network of choice, and buy Romney campaign merchandise. The Hill sees the move as the evolution of Barack Obama’s strategy of texting his VP pick to supporters. That initiative gave Obama a trove of valuable phone numbers, but Romney’s app could potentially collect much more data on users. On startup, for example, it asks permission to access location data.

via Romney to Announce VP Pick Via App – App can gather info on his supporters.