President Barack Obama speaking to the National Urban League Conference in New Orleans on Wednesday (Bill Haber/AP)Dear Britain: The White House wants you know that even if Mitt Romney may harbor doubts about your ability to pull off the Olympics, President Barack Obama "has the utmost confidence" in you. In fact, the Obama administration would also like Israel and Poland—the two countries the Republican standard-bearer will visit next—to know it has their back, too.
White House press secretary Jay Carney kicked off his daily briefing Thursday by describing in some detail how Obama's top homeland security and counter-terrorism adviser, John Brennan, had led a discussion with key security officials "to take stock of our efforts, working with the United Kingdom, to prepare for the London 2012 Olympic Games."
Brennan then discussed the issue with Obama, who "directed that we continue to ensure that we are doing everything possible to keep the American people safe and to continue close cooperation with our British counterparts," Carney said. "In keeping with our special relationship, the president also made it clear that he has the utmost confidence in our close friend and ally the United Kingdom as they finalize preparations to host the London Olympics," Carney told reporters.
That none-too-subtle message came after Romney, who often cites his experience running the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, ruffled feathers in Britain by telling NBC in an interview Wednesday he wasn't sure London was ready.
"You know, it's hard to know just how well it will turn out," Romney told NBC. "There are a few things that were disconcerting. The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials … that obviously is not something which is encouraging."
On Thursday, in apparent damage-control mode, Romney emerged from a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron with a different message. "What I see shows imagination and forethought and a lot of organization, and I expect the Games to be highly successful," Romney said.
So was the White House announcement of Brennan's security briefing linked to Romney's trip?Read More »from Obama: Hey Romney, Europe and I go way back