Updated 9:00 a.m. ET
(CBS News) In his first trip abroad as a presidential candidate, Mitt Romney intended to show off his strength as a statesman. Instead, he made a number of bungles - and in their traditional fashion, the British press tore him apart for it.
Romney's remarks Wednesday that "there are a few things that were disconcerting" about the management of the London Olympic Games prompted British leaders to
Romney's full quote from the NBC interview Wednesday:
Then, in a meeting with Labour party leader Ed Miliband Thursday, Romney called Milliband "Mr. Leader," seemingly forgetting his name. Romney also - something he should've kept under wraps.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: And in the short time you've been here in London, do they look ready to your experienced eye?
MITT ROMNEY: You know, it's hard to know just how well it were turn out-- will turn out. There are a few things that were disconcerting, the stories about the-- private security firm not having enough people-- the sup-- supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging. Because in the games, there-- there are three parts that makes games successful. Number one, of course, are the athletes. That's what overwhelmingly the games are about. Number two are the volunteers. And they'll have great volunteers here. But number three are the people of the-- of the country. Do they come together and celebrate the Olympic moment? And that's something which we only find out once the games actually begin.
(Romney may have forgotten Labour party leaders' name in video to left.)
By 5 p.m. ET, the British press was having a field day. Center-left newspaper The Guardian led their website with the headline, "Mitt Romney's Olympics blunder stuns No 10 and hands gift to Obama." Referring to Romney's "disconcerting" comment, the Guardian quoted a senior Whitehall source, who said, "What a total shocker. We are speechless."
The Guardian also ran a sidebar entitled, "Oh, Mitt: those Romney gaffes in full." The article dissected Romney's gaffes and rated them all on a scale of one to 10. The "disconcerting" comment received a rating of eight on the gaffe scale. "Take that, Romney! Now get that horse out of my sight," the Guardian wrote in the blog post, in reference to Ann Romney's horse, Rafalca, which will compete in the Olympics.
The Telegraph, a traditionalist, center-right paper, ran commentary from foreign correspondent Alex Spillius under the headline "Romney doesn't like us? We shouldn't care." The subheadline of Spillius' story read, "Mitt Romney is perhaps the only politician who could start a trip that was supposed to be a charm offensive by being utterly devoid of charm and mildly offensive."
(Cameron blasts Romney for comments.)
The Times, a center-right publication, ran a couple harsh headlines, including "PM delivers Olympic putdown to Romney." That article cites two unnamed "diplomatic" sources, one of whom says of Romney's visit: "It is worse than Sarah Palin in terms of basic diplomacy." The other source said of Romney: "There is none of the stardust of his opponent."
The Times also featured a video under the headline, "Party pooper? Romney's Olympic security concerns."
The website for center-left paper The Independent led with the headline, "Mr Leader? Did Mitt Romney forget Ed Miliband's name?" The article was among the most-viewed on the site and had the most comments of any story on the site.
(Romney backtracks on comments on Olympics security.)
The Observer, another center-left paper, ran two articles on Romney's gaffes: "David Cameron hits back at Mitt Romney over London 2012 doubts" and "Mitt Romney's Olympics blunder stuns No 10 and hands gift to Obama". The stories weren't featured prominently on the website, but they did account for the two most popular stories on the site.