WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney embarrassed the United States, and himself, by going to London and insulting the British in advance of the Olympics, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday evening.
"It's not good for us as a country -- it's not good for him -- but as a country to have somebody that's nominated by one of the principal parties to go over and insult everybody," Reid said.
Romney, who takes great pride in heading the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, caused a media sensation Thursday when he said there were "disconcerting" signals that the British might not be prepared for the coming games.
Reid, in an interview with The Huffington Post, said he didn't understand how Romney could have made such a blunder, and had advice for the GOP hopeful the next time he visits an Olympic Games.
"I think I would have thought up this on my own and not [have to rely] on the staff," said Reid. "I would go there and I would say, 'They have done a remarkably good job. I know how they have been hurt with the economy. But they have done this. I have done it myself. It's so hard to do, and they have done a remarkably good job.' That's what they should have done. He would have been cheered and not have the mayor, before 60,000 people, belittle one of our major party nominees. And that's what the mayor did."
A Romney spokeswoman did not return a request for comment.
Romney also duffed his first foreign trip as the presumptive GOP nominee by revealing that he held a secret meeting with British intelligence about the games. His disastrous performance is being chronicled minute by minute on Twitter with a hashtag dedicated to him -- #RomneyShambles.
Conservative British Prime Minister David Cameron mocked Romney in his rebuttal. "We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course, it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere," he said, referring to Salt Lake City.
Romney has long been looking forward to the Olympics as a way to move past the storm of his unreleased tax returns and scrutiny around his time at Bain Capital. Reid said he doesn't think Romney has found dry land.
"You don't weather a storm by creating a couple along the way," Reid said.
Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.)
"We're not worried about overseas headlines. We're worried about voters back here at home in America," Jindal said on a conference call with reporters Thursday.
Channel 4 News in London
Felicity Spector of Channel 4 News in London <a href="http://www.channel4.com/news/london-calling-mitt-romneys-golden-gaffe-in-olympics-visit" target="_hplink">writes</a> that Romney has undertaken "a charm offensive, that has proved rather more offensive, than charming."
UK Prime Minister David Cameron
In response to Romney <a href="http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/07/romney-london-olympics-david-cameron.php" target="_hplink">questioning</a> whether London could handle the security issues ahead of the summer games, Cameron retorted that he had no doubt "Britain can deliver." "We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world," Cameron said. "Of course it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere."
The <a href="http://www.scribblelive.com/Event/SinglePost.aspx?PostId=35975791" target="_hplink">tabloid</a> said Romney's visit was "not a great day at the office."
JONATHAN HAYNES TWEET, TOO
The Times of London
The daily paper called Cameron's comment an "Olympic putdown" in an above-the-scroll <a href="http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/07/romney-london-olympics-gaffes.php" target="_hplink">headline</a> online.
JANICE TURNER TWEET TOO!
"If Mitt Romney doesn't like us, we shouldn't care," <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/mitt-romney/9428764/Commentary-if-Mitt-Romney-doesnt-like-us-we-shouldnt-care.html" target="_hplink">writes</a> the paper.
The Daily Mail
The newspaper <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2179309/Mayor-Boris-Johnson-attacking-Mitt-Romney-Olympic-torch-arrives-London.html" target="_hplink">called</a> the start of Romney's trip "humiliating."
The London Evening Standard
The newspaper <a href="linkgoeshere" target="_hplink">wrote</a> "David Cameron slaps down US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney over Games gaffe."
"Mr Romney is credited with rescuing the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, now he's appeared to question London's readiness to host a successful olympics," host George Alagiah <a href="http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/07/romney-london-olympics-gaffes.php" target="_hplink">said</a>, adding "If (Romney's) here to make friends, he's got a funny way of showing it."