Mitt Romney's not-so special relationship

Mitt Romney and his wife Ann at the opening ceremony of 2012 Olympic Games in London on 27 July 2012 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mitt Romney and wife Ann at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics

Mitt Romney leaves London for Israel on Saturday, the second leg of his foreign tour, presumably hoping he'll get a better reception from the press there.

His aim, we are told, is to stress the shared values of that country and the USA, a relationship he will say is anchored in tragedy and survival.

Survive is about what he has done in London.

His team are not yet willing to talk on or off the record about the drubbing he got at the hands of the British press.

Not wishing to indulge in even a little face-saving spin must be a sign of deep trauma.

I'm told Mr Romney thought the opening ceremony was "absolutely amazing", and wanted to thank the organisers for a spectacular show.

But as no cameras were allowed near Mr Romney, we don't know how he felt during the Olympics' literally all-dancing celebration of the single-payer health scheme (the NHS).

This musical tribute to what he calls the "European entitlement society" can't have made him stand up and cheer.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Rupert Murdoch's UK Sun newspaper holds nothing back

Talking about how Mr Romney's visit to London went, aside from the Olympics debacle, may seem rather like that old joke: "Apart from that, how was the play, Mrs Lincoln?"

Nevertheless the word is that it wasn't bad at all.

Except for light-hearted banter, the Games were not mentioned in the series of back-to-back meetings, and it was only when Team Romney emerged from Downing Street, blinking in the sunlight, that they realised something had gone seriously wrong.

In talks with the prime minister, the chancellor and the foreign secretary, the would-be president was particularly interested in talking about Syria and the eurozone and how they might transform the final phase of the US election race.

He's apparently particularly concerned about the Alawite elite around President Assad and how to give them hope that there is an alternative to fighting for their lives and their families' lives.

He's also worried about what might follow the current regime.

And he talked about free trade between the United States and the European Union, which was music to the ears of the British Government.

If Mr Romney makes it to the White House, and some new opinion polls are looking very good for him, he has established something of a relationship with the UK.

But so far it has been special in a way that he can't relish.