Someone should have told Mitt Romney that they still speak English in England.

The Republican presidential candidate seemed to be talking in a foreign language, politically speaking, during what should have been a largely ceremonial first leg of his I-am-ready-to-be-president European tour.

First, there was the quote from a Romney “adviser” who told the London Telegraph that the former Massachusetts governor understands “Anglo-Saxon heritage” better than President Obama does. (The Romney campaign denied any affiliation with said “adviser,” and we’re inclined to take its side on that one.)

Then came the real problems — caused by Romney himself.

They started when he told NBC’s Brian Williams that the recently reported security problems surrounding the London Olympics were “disconcerting.” Cue outrage as everyone from British Prime Minister David Cameron to London Mayor Boris “The Hair” Johnson defended the Games. But also note that, as Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple points out, for most of the past month, “British and stateside media just wouldn’t shut up about how badly the Brits were mismanaging preparations for the London Olympics.”

Romney backtracked in subsequent interviews, describing London as “fabulous” and even praising the city’s “great weather.” Um . . .

Then there were Romney’s very public comments about a very private meeting with the head of MI-6, the British intelligence agency, a break of protocol that the Guardian summed up thusly: “The British take on the national secret intelligence service comes with an extra-heavy dollop of the whole secret thing.”

Romney’s “performance” could well be forgotten by the time his European trip concludes with visits to Poland and Israel. But a headline that reads “Mitt the Twit” (as the Sun’s did) probably isn’t a good thing for a presidential candidate.

Mitt Romney, for losing something in translation, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

Have a candidate for the Worst Week in Washington? E-mail Chris Cillizza at

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