All-Star Panel: Olympic security comments a misstep for Romney?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," July 26, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: The question was, is Great Britain, is London, ready for the Olympic Games, and that was the answer you heard. Obviously Mitt Romney headed up the 2002 winter Olympics in Salt Lake City so he was probably answering that from someone who headed up an Olympic Games. And he was answering truthfully. There are concerns about all those things he mentioned.

However, diplomatically, as the Republican nominee -- or likely nominee heading to a foreign stop, it didn't sit too well. And the British press went crazy. The first time the prime minister was asked about it, here's what he said.


DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. I mean, of course it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.


BAIER: Now Cameron didn't make any mention of Salt Lake City. He, in fact, was talking about Burma earlier. But he made that comment, then the mayor of London speaking to 60,000 in Hyde Park said this -- "There are some people coming from around the world who don't yet know if we are ready. There's a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we are ready. Are we ready?" And they all cheered "Yes, we are." So what about this and this stop. We're back with the panel. Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Look, when Cameron says the middle of nowhere he was not referring to Rangoon. He was referring to the mountains of Utah. What Romney answered in that question is unbelievable, it's beyond human understanding. It's incomprehensible. I'm out of adjectives.


KRAUTHAMMER: All the man has to do is say nothing, nothing in any of the stops on the trip. The statement of the trip is simply the places he's going to, England, and Poland, and Israel, all of which have been treated roughly and badly by Obama. All he has to do is show up and say wonderful stuff about his host, imply we're gonna be strong allies, and everybody in those countries and around the world will understand it's a rebuke without saying so, a silent rebuke to Obama, who treated the Brits, and the Poles, and the Israelis pretty shabbily, particularly the Brits. Remember when he came into the Oval Office, he removed the bust of Churchill, there was a State Department spokesman who said there is no special relationship, etc., etc. --

BAIER: The queen, the gifts –


KRAUTHAMMER: -- the queen and gifts, the Falklands Islands in which we have a study of neutrality between the Argentines and Brits where we should be solidly on the British side on this. The list is long. And all Romney has to do is say nothing.  It's like a guy in a 100-meter dash. All he has to do is to finish. He doesn't have to win. And instead he tackles the guy in the lane next to him and ends up disqualified. I don't get it.

BAIER: Alright, in his defense he was probably answering, Mary Katharine, as the head of the Olympics and saying potential problems, but he later on came out and said listen, it all will work out and tried to walk that statement back.

MARY KATHARINE HAM, HOTAIR.COM: Right, if you're as fair to him as possible, you can point out look he's looking at this from a technical point of view and he probably got a little too technical with it. But the question was an invitation to give a giant smooch to the British people and British leadership and he should have taken Brian Williams up on that. And is it the biggest deal in the world? He's not going to lose electoral votes in England, but it matters in just sort of marking off the boxes as you go and they seemed to sewed it up fine later and had a nice talk. But that is not where you want to be getting a tart rejoinder from the conservative PM the second  you get there.

BAIER: Brian Williams seemed surprised by the answer too. And the British press, I mean they're brutal to begin with, but they had a field day today.

KIRSTEN POWERS, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK POST: Yeah and well, you know, with all due respect to them -- their hysteria and they're very good at being outraged. As Mary Katharine said, fortunately, none of the people who read their papers are going to be voting in this election, so it's not going to matter in any kind of macro sense. I don't think he's going to lose any votes over this, but he is trying to establish that he is not a novice and that he knows how to play on the world stage. And to do something that just doesn't make any sense.  If you think about it, why would the British people not be ready to be there for the Olympics? We don't even know where he's coming from. I don't understand the technical criticism. So he's kind of made it difficult to say I'm not a novice and I know what I'm doing.

BAIER: Secondly, he mentioned his wife and the horse that is competing. There's been all this back and forth about that, but it seems like this is going to go on and it will pass.

KRAUTHAMMER: I'm sure it will, and I understand that the horse has been important in her treatment of MS. I have total respect for that. But I'm not sure why the horse has to be in the most upper class hoity-toity Olympic event ever invented. It's unnecessary. They're running for the presidency. You know, after he wins -- if he wins, he can take the horse on Air Force One if he wants, feed him from the White House mess.

KRAUTHAMMER: But can't you just sit it out so that your horse isn't in this equestrian event? I mean it's not exactly the equivalent but it approaches John Kerry windsurfing in that incredible outfit. There's no need for that. I don't get it.

BAIER: Last word, Mary Katharine, the rest of the trip, Poland and Israel.

HAM: Yeah, I'm not going to hate on the horse. Having an Olympian in the family is a plus for them --


HAM: -- but I think he's got to be on better footing when he gets to Israel and Poland where he really has a chance to make a contrast if he doesn't say something like that.

BAIER: OK, that's it for the panel, but stay tuned for an interesting choice of words at a city council debate.

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