Mitt Romney might have been a bit taken aback by his hostile reception by the British press, but its a fairly typical reception for any American leader. Take for example the multiple scandals and gaffes committed by President Obama while dealing with the British.
Feb 2009: Obama takes bust of Churchill out of the Oval Office
The Telegraph reported: “The rejection of the bust has left some British officials nervously reading the runes to see how much influence the UK can wield with the new regime in Washington.”
March 2009: Obama “too tired,” to properly host Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Prime Minister Gordon Brown came to visit the President at the White House, but the British press reported there was no “full-blown press conference” or “formal dinner,” as has been customary. The British Press reported that the President was “too tired” to properly host the Prime Minister because he was dealing with the economic crisis.
Even worse was this reported quote from an anonymous State Department official: “There’s nothing special about Britain. You’re just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn’t expect special treatment.”
March 2009: Obama gives Prime Minister Gordon Brown a box of DVD’s
While visiting the United States, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave the president a pen fashioned out of the same wood as the Resolute Desk. What did Obama give him in return?
“Barack Obama, the leader of the world’s richest country, gave the Prime Minister a box set of 25 classic American films – a gift about as exciting as a pair of socks,” reported the Telegraph.
What’s worse, the set of DVD’s was coded for the United States and unreadable by UK DVD players.
April 2009: Obama gives Queen Elizabeth an iPod
White visiting the Queen, the Obama family gave her an iPod, prompting raised eyebrows from the British Press. The MP3 player came pre-loaded with photos from President Obama’s inauguration and audio files of the president’s speech as a senator to the 2004 Democratic National Convention and his 2009 inauguration address.
The queen reportedly already had an iPod.
September 2009: Obama refuses private meeting with Prime Minister Gordon Brown during UN Summit
April 2009: First Lady Michelle Obama breaks protocol by touching the Queen’s back
January 2011: Obama calls France America’s ‘strongest ally’
While President Obama was visiting France, the British Press was particularly vexed when he told French President Nicolas Sarkozy that France was America’s strongest ally.
“The UK has lost nearly 350 troops in the war against the Taliban – seven times as many as France.” noted the Daily Mail.
May 2011: After toasting the Queen, Obama continues speaking as the band starts playing ‘God Save the Queen.’
This awkward moment had both countries wincing, as the President presumed to keep speaking even though the band started playing.
The BBC notes: According to protocol, however, he (Obama) should have stopped after the toast.
May 2011: Barack Obama signs wrong date in Westminster Abbey visitor’s book
President Obama visited Westminster Abbey in 2011, but signed the guestbook dating his entry as May 24, 2008.
“Mr. Obama could perhaps be forgiven for having fond memories of 2008, as that was the year he was elected to the Oval Office.” the Telegraph notes.
May 2011: Barack Obama snubs British scientists by refusing to receive Royal Society medal
The Telegraph reports: “Sources close to the state visit said members of the Royal Society were ‘deeply offended’ by the snub and had accused Mr Obama of being obsessed with his ‘street cred.’”
December 2011: President Obama refers to the British Embassy as the “English Embassy”
From the Daily Mail: In an interview yesterday, Mr Obama said: ‘All of us are deeply disturbed by the, err, crashing of, err, the English Embassy, err, the embassy of the United Kingdom.’
June 2012: President Obama refers to the Falkland Islands as ‘the Maldives’
This was a mistake on top of a gaffe, as the Maldives are actually in the Indian Ocean. Obama was trying to say “Malvinas” — the name given to the Falkland Islands by the Argentine government, a British possession which Argentina invaded in 1982. This was the British equivalent of suggesting that the U.S. hand Pearl Harbor over to the Japanese. As The Telegraph’s Nile Gardiner writes: “This is a position that Britain views as completely unacceptable, and with good reason.”