Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D-Pa.) said Friday that Republican Mitt Romney's embarrassing gaffes in London this week during his trip to the Summer Olympics won't make much of a difference in the presidential election, but neither will Obama's "you didn't build that" comment.
"All of this is just the battle of the day, which in the summer time, means absolutely nothing," Rendell told The Huffington Post. "Even Romney's unbelievable performance in England means absolutely nothing in the end. In the end, it means nothing. It sort of contributes to the view that Romney's a doofus, but Romney will have three debates and a convention speech to dispel that. Obama will have three debates and a convention speech to look like a leader again."
"No one is going into a polling place and not vote for Mitt Romney because he insulted the British. I'm serious," Rendell said.
As for the president's comment about small business, Rendell called the Romney campaign's criticisms of Obama "ridiculous."
"If you listen to the president, the president wasn't demeaning small business owners. What he was saying was that we're all tied together, that a small business might need a new road or might need a rail spur into the industrial park where the small business is, and it's the government who puts up the money for the rail spur, or it's the government who builds the new road or the bypass that is necessary," Rendell said.
"They're making far too much out of that, far too much out of that," he said.
Asked why the Obama campaign has responded so defensively, Rendell said, "because that's what campaigning has become."
The one issue debated this month by the Obama and Romney campaigns which Rendell thought will endure is Romney's refusal to release more than two years of personal tax returns (Romney has released his 2010 filings and has pledged to release his 2011 returns this fall).
"I think the bombshell is tax returns," Rendell said. "I think Romney's in a very difficult place. If he doesn't release his tax returns people think the worst. If he does release it and in three or four of those years he paid zero, I think he risks a lot of wrath."