"Britain is an easy date. So how did Mitt Romney mess up so badly?" asks Jonathan Freedland:
So the big surprise in the opening ceremony is not what I expected. I thought Danny Boyle would set aside three minutes for a lavish video tribute to Willard Mitt Romney, thanking the Republican presidential nominee for doing what, until Thursday, neither David Cameron, Boris Johnson or Sebastian Coe had managed to do: silencing all but the grumpiest sceptics and uniting the British people in enthusiastic determination to enjoy the London Olympics.
Because we're quite happy to whinge endlessly about security, transport and ticketing failures - but we'll be damned if we're going to hear it from some perfect-toothed American. Now we'll get behind the Games just to spite him. For that, Coe & co will forever owe Romney a great debt.
The Romneyshambles saw the US politician lurch from one error to another, speaking of "looking out of the backside of 10 Downing Street", disclosing what was meant to be a secret meeting with MI6 and, most damagingly, appearing to diss London 2012 on the very eve of the Games. The ineptitude was especially striking because this was supposed to be the uncomplicated leg of a Romney foreign tour that this weekend takes in Poland and Israel.
For an American politician, Britain is an easy date: just praise the country as a steadfast ally, mention Churchill a couple of times and we'll roll over. Yet somehow Romney managed to provoke both the prime minister and the capital's mayor - both fellow conservatives who should regard a Republican nominee as a kindred spirit - into public rebukes. That takes some doing. So what explains how an accomplished politician, with the resilience to have prevailed in a bruising primary campaign, could mess up so badly? The answer says a lot about Romney - and a fair bit about the dire state of today's Republican party.
Continue reading in The Guardian. Freedlands sees the main reasons in Romney being a CEO instead of a politicians, his lack of interest in foreign policy and the the Republican party, which "is characterised by a kind of bellicose ignorance towards the rest of the world."
Barack Obama has had a much more successful European tour as presidential candidate exactly four years ago. I have interviewed several attendees of the 200,000 Obama rally in Berlin in 2008. Now I have tracked down a couple of those folks and asked them to comment on how they see Obama now. You can read the comments and watch the original video interviews here: Reexamining Obama's Berlin Speech. There is some disillusionment as well.