- By Uri Friedman
Uri Friedman is deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy. Before joining FP, he reported for the Christian Science Monitor, worked on corporate strategy for Atlantic Media, helped launch the Atlantic Wire, and covered international affairs for the site. A proud native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he studied European history at the University of Pennsylvania and has lived in Barcelona, Spain and Geneva, Switzerland.
Mitt Romney’s gaffe-filled overseas tour this summer served up lots of comedic fodder for Democrats. Senator John Kerry noted that for Romney, "an overseas trip is what you call it when you trip all over yourself overseas." Referencing the Republican candidate’s criticism of London Olympics organizers during his visit to the United Kingdom, President Obama observed that "you might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’t visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally." Now, it seems, Ed Miliband, Britain’s Labour Party leader, is getting in on the action. In an address to a party conference this week, Miliband reflected on his meeting with Romney in London:
You may have noticed that doing this job you get called some names, some of the nice, some of them not so nice. Let me tell you my favorite; it was when Mitt Romney came to Britain and called me ‘Mr Leader.’ I don’t know about you but I think it has a certain ring to it myself, it’s sort of half-way to North Korea. Mitt, thanks a lot for that.
Here’s a clip of Romney calling Miliband ‘Mr. Leader’ back in July (Miliband stays straight-faced):
The joke fell pretty flat, apparently. The Independent reports that it "did not work, partly because he rushed the timing" (the Guardian actually timed the length of applause — a paltry three seconds). I imagine Romney wouldn’t appreciate it either.