Romney Tries to Quell Tiff With David Cameron Over Olympics

After calling the lead-up to the games "disconcerting," he earned a sharp rebuke from the British prime minister.

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Reuters

Seeking to quell criticism of his earlier comments on the London Olympics, Mitt Romney reiterated his faith in the host city's Games work on Thursday as he emerged from a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron and other officials.

Speaking from his experience as an organizer for the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002, Romney said a few things will always go wrong.

"When the games themselves begin and the athletes take over, all of the mistakes that the organizing committee -- and I made a few -- all of those are overwhelmed by the many things that the athletes carry out that capture the spirit of the games," Romney told reporters.

"What I've seen shows imagination and forethought and a lot of organization and expect the games to be highly successful," he added.

Cameron had earlier expressed displeasure with Romney's public remarks that he found some of the events leading up to the games "disconcerting."

"We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world," Cameron said, according to The Telegraph. "Of course it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere."

Sitting down with NBC's Brian Williams on Wednesday, Romney at one point called certain mistakes he has noticed "disconcerting." The former Massachusetts governor ran the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

"You know, it's hard to know just how well it will turn out," he said. "There are a few things that were disconcerting, the stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials. That obviously is not something which is encouraging."

His statement in front of 10 Downing Street, however, was the presumptive Republican nominee's second walk-back of those comments. He had a similar message about the real Olympic spirit when he met with Labour leader Ed Miliband at Parliament. Romney plans to attend the Opening Ceremony on Friday.

Presented by

Matt Vasilogambros and Naureen Khan

Matt Vasilogambros and Naureen Khan are staff reporters at National Journal.

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