Romney runs circles around Europe avoiding the crisis

The GOP candidate's trip to Europe skips over the toughest problem.

By The Fiscal Times Jul 26, 2012 3:52PM
By Josh BoakThe Fiscal Times

Mitt Romney travels abroad this week to polish his presidential resume. But since Romney will avoid confronting head-on the vicious sovereign debt crisis in Europe that already appears to have engulfed the American economy, the trip may seem more like a vacation.

The presumptive Republican nominee plans to jet across the continent without setting foot inside the eurozone, the 17 countries bound together by a shared currency that are struggling to rescue the debt-ridden nations of Greece, Italy and Spain. Bailout packages for all three have done little to restore growth and calm jittery markets, which plunged again on Monday ahead of a visit by European officials to assess efforts by the Greek government to reduce its debt burden.

But Romney will largely steer clear of the debacle that has contributed to sluggish job growth for the past three months in the United States and a 3.72 percent drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average since May.

Instead, his itinerary takes him to the United Kingdom and Poland, two countries that because of their currencies—the pound and the zloty—are somewhat removed from the crisis. For a presidential hopeful stumping on his business expertise, it is potentially a squandered opening.

“Candidates do this to show they’re ready for the presidential stage, but if you’re not talking about the number one issue, it begs the question of what you’re doing there,” said Jim Kessler, senior vice president for policy at the think tank Third Way.

The former Massachusetts governor has less ambitious priorities for his overseas sojourn. Romney departs after a Tuesday speech in Nevada for a six-day tour—which also includes a stop in Israel—that will be “an opportunity for the governor to lean and listen, to visit countries that share common values, common interests, and I should say in many cases shared heritage with people in the United States,” Lanhee Chen, the campaign’s policy director, told reporters in a conference call. His itinerary looks unlikely to duplicate the rock festival atmosphere of President Obama’s speech in Berlin during the 2008 campaign.

Romney, who ran the 2002 Winter Olympics, plans to attend the opening of the summer games in London  in addition to meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron. He will also host a pair of fundraisers in a city that has become a hornet’s nest for financial scandals—the AIG derivatives fiasco, the $5.8 billion JP Morgan trading loss, and a cartel of banks—four of which have executives co-chairing the Romney event—under investigation for rigging the Libor interest rate, according to The Washington Post.

In Poland, which the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and Cooperation has described as its “best growth performer … through the global economic crisis,” Romney will talk with Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa, who led the country out of communism, and the current heads of its government. He is expected to emphasize national security issues and jab Obama for discarding plans to have a missile-defense system based in that country.

In some ways it’s wise for Romney to skip venturing deep into the crisis since he has little chance to influence economic policy in Europe. But those following the sovereign debt crisis wondered why he didn’t try to squeeze in a visit to Germany, the eurozone country with the resources to engineer bailouts for Greece, Italy and Spain.

Desmond Lachman, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former economist for the International Monetary Fund, noted that Romney would benefit from listening to German officials, since the crisis could come to a boil—with Greece possibly leaving the eurozone—as the November election approaches.

“You would think he would want to talk to the main players—the U.K. is on the outs,” Lachman said. “They’re not seen as part of Europe, whereas Germany is the driving force. If you’re going to lead the United States, you would think you would want to have some dealings with the main player in Europe—which is the Germans.”

But then, Romney has frequently demonized much of Europe as an example of the fate awaiting the United States if Obama secures another term.

“If I were not to get elected, we would in my view become more like Europe with higher deficits, with a debt that could put us in a Greece or Spain or Italy-like circumstance, with chronic high unemployment, with low wage growth and with a military that gets slowly but surely hollowed out so it could pay for the various programs that government would try to keep in place,” he told C-Span in an interview last month. And while the Obama administration has blamed the sputtering economy on the turmoil across the Atlantic Ocean, Romney insists there is little U.S. officials can do to fix Europe and that the underlying difficulties at home stem from the White House.

“If the president’s policies had worked, if he had been able to get America back on track, why we would be looking at what happened in Europe as being a problem, but certainly not devastating,” the candidate told CNBC last month. Those inside the Obama camp fired back that Europe would be an even graver threat if Romney succeeds in his pledge to roll back the financial regulations established two years ago by Dodd-Frank.

Austan Goolsbee, the former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers quickly tweeted an imaginary dialogue between Romney and Dodd-Frank on June 17, “Romney: Repeal Dodd-frank! D-F: but w/o me it's back to what blew up the world-like Europe now Romney: so? D-F: oy.”

Josh Boak is a National Correspondent at The Fiscal Times. Subscribe to The Fiscal Times' FREE newsletter.

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Jul 27, 2012 8:57PM
Shortly after revising his comments about the Olympics, Romney held a fund raiser with some of the London bankers involved in the LIBOR scam.   Way to go Mitt.
Jul 27, 2012 8:20PM
It's becoming obvious that Romney is incapable of facing difficult issues and problems head on.  He won't release other tax returns, and that can only be because there is something to hide, otherwise, why not do so?  And now he's skirting the problematic issues in Europe, and that cvan only be because he can't hold his ground with these people.  This guy is gutless and a sham, but the mouth breathers will still vote for him. 
Jul 28, 2012 11:03AM

Again, Republican or Democrat, an American President has to relate to all the world.  An American President has to refrain from name dropping, as in the case with Dubya Mittrouble's M meeting,

An American President has to know when to bite his or her tongue, and not tell the world it was done better in their neck of the woods, as in the case of Dubya Mittroubles London Olympics interview with Mr. Brain Williams.


Dubya Mittrouble always looks like a deer caught in the headlights...especially then...He needs to go back and do what he does best, since he is retired now form Bain, he needs to go back to his personal vacation resort, and let Mrs. Romney tote him around on the back of the wave runner. Or, he needs to go back to college and take some courses in diplomacy, or learn basic military intelligence training, 'cause he can't name drop anymore, and he can't critique a country about how they brought the world the Olympic events.


An American President can't back track, all the time, or have his wife clean up after his blunders, or not present at least 10 to 12 years of his tax returns to the American people.


A republic is run by the people, not the other way around, and it is time for the American people to force the issue of transparency for all current and future candidates who seek our votes.


By the way, I'm pretty sure our founding fathers didn't intend corporations to be defined as a person/personhood; so when I say 'people' I mean individuals, united with good intent for all basically reasonable hard working fellow Americans, to be aware of these things, to their best most honorable ability, to know and understand these things.  To then vote for the better candidate, for the well being of our people as a whole, and to fight for the right to know each candidate's heart, mind and character of response, towards those he interacts with throughout the world, on our behalf, in order to uplift all Americans, by affording them not just token opportunities, but real opportunities. We the people, the Repulic for which we stand, can in return, know we have done our best for our country and the future generations of Americans to follow.







Jul 27, 2012 12:10AM

Dubya Mittrouble Romney.


Foriegn relations blunder wonder.  


Britain has mostly white people...he couldn't relate. 


What happens when he has to talk to a poplation that are even a shade darker? 


What happens when he can't relate  to the world through those eyes that looked like a deer caught in headlights?












Jul 27, 2012 9:00PM
Mitt Romney makes George Bush look like an intellectual.
Jul 28, 2012 2:20PM
The pro-Obama liberals have come out to play on this pro-Obama article. Socialism is the end of a civilization not its beginning. And bankruptcy is its end.
Jul 27, 2012 11:41PM

Mitt Romney is one of the wealthiest self-made men

in our country but has given more back to its citizens

in terms of money, service and time than most men.

And in 2011 Mitt Romney gave over $4 million to charity,

almost 19% of his income.... Just for comparison purposes,

Obama gave 1% and Joe Biden gave $300 or .0013%.

Jul 27, 2012 2:34AM
Obama is the President, not Romney. Obama has had 3 plus years to fix jobs, taxes, and the economy in general. He has not done zip! Romney is a rich white guy that is very good in business. Sounds like he is just what we need, someone that has a clue! Obama just makes excuses! I work with small business owners and they are on hold with Obama, not knowing what to do! Hope and change?
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