The Washington Post

Your Insider reporting from London

LONDON — Judging from the headlines in London this morning, Mitt Romney's foreign trip is off to a ragged start. But you wouldn't have known it at the Romney fundraiser yesterday. I attended the event, and I was surprised at the size and enthusiasm of the crowd. Just estimating, I would say there were more than 150 people there. The ex-pats in attendance shared the urgency to get rid of President Obama — because of the damage his presidency is doing to America — that I witness in the States among Romney supporters. This sense of urgency is what is fueling Romney's robust fundraising, and it was on display last night when the Romney campaign raised more than $2 million.

If Romney was distracted by the problems from earlier in the day, you wouldn't have known it from his performance at the fundraiser. He was enthusiastic, animated and in no hurry to leave. He spoke for about 30 minutes and was crisp in his presentation. He did a good job of reciting why he wants to be president. I don't know if it was part of a new stump speech, but his energy and the crowd appeal were obvious.

No doubt Romney wishes he had talked less to the media about the state of the London Olympics, but he didn't let that affect his event and his message.

My impression from Londoners is that they are glad the Olympics are here, but they will also be glad when they are over. Everyone you meet has a personal story of inconvenience, and nerves are frayed, but Londoners don't want to hear any hint of criticism from foreigners.  There appears to be Olympic fatigue, but that will probably be cured when the Olympic Games actually start tonight.

Romney's overseas trip is fast-paced, and today's news will be old news quickly.  Sure-footedness is at a premium, and it will be a good test for the Romney team.

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.


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