Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Thursday disclosed that he had a meeting with the chief of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, an admission that was seen as a gaffe in the United Kingdom.
“I can only say that I appreciated the insights and the perspectives of the leaders of the government here and opposition here as well as the head of MI6 as we discussed Syria and hoped for a more peaceful future for that country,” he said outside 10 Downing Street in London.
Meetings between Sir John Sawers, the head of Britain’s MI6 intelligence agency, and public officials are typically kept secret. Following Romney’s comment, neither MI6 nor the Republican candidate’s own campaign would acknowledge the existence of the meeting.
Romney’s six-day overseas tour has been plagued with troubles. Earlier in the day, Romney walked back disparaging comments he made about London’s readiness to host the Olympics.
“There are some people coming from around the world who don’t yet know about all the preparations we’ve done to get London ready in the last seven years,” London Mayor Boris Johnson said in response. “There’s a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we’re ready.”
The Republican presidential candidate has also had to deal with the fallout from his advisor’s racially charged comments. Before Romney arrived in London, his advisors told The Daily Telegraph that his “Anglo-Saxon heritage” would help reinforce the special bond between the United States and Britain, a heritage the Obama did not “fully appreciate.”
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