If Mitt Romney’s purpose in traveling abroad this summer was to prove his credentials as a potential world leader, the verdict is mixed at best. Neither his tendency to utter bizarre insults nor his shallow, ideological approach to policy inspired much confidence, although he managed to garner support from Israel’s right-wing prime minister and an eccentric former leader in Poland. (Our allies in the United Kingdom may never want to hear from him again.)
On the trip’s final leg, the world saw the most unattractive side of the Romney campaign when the traveling press secretary loudly told reporters to “kiss my ass” and “shove it” in a display of the attitude that trickles down from the top.
Contempt toward the press is an important aspect of this attitude. For most of the campaign so far, Romney has pursued a media strategy that has become increasingly typical of Republican presidential candidates: Speak with Fox News and avoid the rest of the national press corps. That is because Fox journalists (an oxymoron?) are far less likely to ask questions that the candidate doesn’t wish to answer, such as the inquiries shouted at Romney in Warsaw on Tuesday.
Why were they shouting at him? Because during the entire trip, he had essentially refused to engage with reporters at all.