After questioning London's readiness to host the Oympic games—which officially begin tonight—and being taken to the woodshed by the British press for it, presumptive Republican presidential nominee needed to see some friendly faces yesterday.
He found them at a fundraiser for his campaign hosted by American ex-patriots in the British capital, many of them veteran financiers like himself. Among them giving between US$25,000 and US$75,000 at the Mandarin Oriental shindig were Moore Capital Management founder Louis Bacon, Texas Pacific Group European chief Karl Peterson and Dwight Poler, a managing director for Romney's former firm, Bain Capital.
Romney is thought to have raised US$2 million at the event, where he attacked the Dodd-Frank financial reform law "overly burdensome."
Romney is making his first trip abroad as a presidential candidate, with stops in London, Poland and Israel. Unlike his November opponent's similar trip four years ago, when President Barack Obama was welcomed by rapturous crowds in Berlin, Romney and his advisers have had trouble keeping their feet out of their mouths.
A Romney aide told the Daily Telegraph that his boss had a better handle on the U.S. and U.K.'s shared "Anglo-Saxon heritage" than Obama, who is black. Then, Romney antagonized his hosts, telling NBC News that "it's hard to know just how well" the London games "will turn out."
"There are a few things that were disconcerting: the stories about the private security firm not having enough people, supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials," Romney, who headed the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, said. "That is obviously not something which is encouraging."
Romney also questioned whether "the people of the country" would "come together and celebrate the Olympic moment."
Those comments aroused the ire of London Mayor Boris Johnson, and forced Romney to backtrack yesterday, telling reporters, "from what I can tell, it's going to be a wonderful 17 days."