Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is quickly backtracking on comments made Wednesday that resulted in an absolute firestorm, saying on NBC's Today show this morning that he "is absolutely convinced the people here are ready" for the Olympics.
Romney questioned London's readiness for the Olympics in an interview with NBC's Brian Williams on Wednesday, saying some things about the city's preparation was "disconcerting" for how things would turn out. He struck a different tone Friday morning.
“I read the same reports I think a lot of people did about all the challenges being faced by the organizing committee, but after being here a couple of days, it looks like London is ready,’’ Romney told Matt Lauer in London. “I’m absolutely convinced the people here are ready for the Games.’’
After his comments to Williams on Wednesday, both the British press and some of its prominent politicians took exception.
First, British Prime Minister David Cameron took a shot at Romney's time running the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, saying that "it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere." Then, London's eccentric Mayor Boris Johnson publicly called out Romney during a Olympics kickoff rally before 60,000 people in Hyde Park.
"There's a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we are ready. Are we ready?" Johnson yelled to the crowd, which roared in approval.
Romney noted on Friday how difficult it was to plan the Games in a bustling city like London, a response to Cameron's comments on Thursday.
“Of course it is hard to put on Games in a major metropolitan area,’’ Romney told Lauer. “What they’ve done that I find so impressive is they took the venues and put them right in the city. You’re going to be able to be just in the backside of 10 Downing Street for beach volleyball."