US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's high-profile overseas trip got off to a rocky start on Thursday when he was forced to clarify a comment seen as criticizing London's handling of the Summer Olympics that he came to celebrate.
The Republican candidate ruffled British feathers ahead of his visit by appearing to suggest in a US television interview that London was not ready for the Games, whose opening ceremony in the British capital is held on Friday.
It's hard to know just how well it will turn out. There are a few things that were disconcerting, Romney told NBC when asked to analyze London's handling of the Olympics.
He cited what he said was the threat of a strike by immigration and customs officials. That obviously is not something which is encouraging.
The comments were seized on by British media and Prime Minister David Cameron defended Britain's handling of the Games, after he was forced to deploy extra troops to bolster security to cover a shortfall left by a private contractor.
We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course, it is easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere, Cameron said during a news conference at the Olympic Park in London on Thursday.
The comments, in response to a question about public transport problems ahead of the games, could be uncomfortable reading for Romney, who has made much of his record as the man who saved the failing Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002.
We talked about the great progress that has been made in organizing the Games, Romney said after meeting Cameron.
My experience as the Olympic organizer is that there are always a few very small things that end up not going quite right, those get ironed out, and then when the Games themselves begin, the athletes take over, he said.