WASHINGTON -- White House Press Secretary Jay Carney won't say what he makes of Mitt Romney's embarrassing trip to England this week, where he was rebuked by political leaders and the press for questioning London's preparedness for the Olympics. But that didn't stop Carney from indirectly jabbing Romney for not acting very presidential on his first trip abroad as the presumptive Republican nominee.

During his daily briefing on Friday, Carney demurred when asked how he would rate Romney's trip overseas. "I would not," he said to laughs, emphasizing that he only takes questions on policy, not politics. Still, he described what it takes to be the president of the United States, including working well with leaders of other countries.

"While the focus of this election cycle is the economy ... the presidency involves, as a huge component of the job, engagement in national security affairs, engagement with foreign leaders and countries around the world," Carney said. "And it is important work, even when the attention of others is elsewhere."

Carney went on to tout Obama's record of making the "safety and security of the United States" a priority. He cited Obama's success in ending the war in Iraq, increasing the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan in order to go after al Qaeda and building international consensus about the Iranian government being a problem.

"This is simply to say that foreign policy is a big part of the job," he said.

A Romney campaign spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Romney certainly made a splash when he arrived in the United Kingdom this week. After he suggested on NBC News that London wasn't ready to take on the Olympics, London Mayor Boris Johnson mocked him at a 60,000-person event and Prime Minister David Cameron made fun of his stewardship of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, a place he described as being "in the middle of nowhere." Romney later changed his mind and said London is, in fact, ready.

Related on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Adam Jentleson

  • 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."

  • Austan Goolsbee

  • 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 Sun

    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."


  • 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.


  • The Telegraph

    "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."

  • BBC

    "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."

  • James Chapman