Obama campaign hits Romney for foreign policy 'fumbles'

A senior aide to President Obama's re-election campaign questioned Mitt Romney's foreign policy "preparedness" after what she called a "series of fumbles" during his three-nation overseas trip.

“He’s now been to two countries and he’s had two countries where he has made a series of fumbles," deputy campaign press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday during a meeting with reporters as the president flew to New York for a fundraiser. 

"He’s been fumbling the foreign policy football from country to country. And there’s a threshold question that he has to answer for the American people and that’s whether he’s prepared to be commander-in-chief…. This raises some questions about his preparedness,” she said.

Romney's campaign got out to a tough start after the candidate's remarks critical of the organizers at the London Olympics. During an interview with NBC News, Romney said it would be "hard to know just how well" the games would go, and noted there were "a few things that were disconcerting."

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The remarks created a firestorm in the British press, and prompted Prime Minister David Cameron to jab back.

“We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere,” said Cameron.

On Monday, comments Romney made praising the business culture of Israel — and highlighting the economic success enjoyed by the Jewish state relative to Palestine — also drew fire. A senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blasted the remarks as "racist" to the Associated Press.

"It is a racist statement and this man doesn't realize that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation," said Saeb Erekat.

The Romney campaign told the AP his comments were "grossly mischaracterized" and meant simply to illustrate — as is the case with the U.S. and Mexico, or Chile and Ecuador — how countries that are close to one another can have large disparities in median income.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said during the press briefing Monday that Romney's comments left people "scratching their heads a little bit."

"One of the challenges of being an actor on the international stage, particularly when you're traveling to such a sensitive part of the world, is that your comments are very closely scrutinized for meaning, for nuance, for motivation," Earnest said.

And Psaki argued that the missteps should bring into question Romney's qualifications for the presidency.

“We’re not sure that Mitt Romney is moving the ball forward or that he is passing the threshold he needs to meet for the American people as to whether he’s prepared to be commander-in-chief," Psaki said.

There were some encouraging signs for the Republican nominee during his foreign trip, however.

Romney was warmly received by many Jewish leaders during his trip to Israel — a major goal for the candidate, who is looking to shore up support with Jewish and evangelical Christian voters. In an e-mail circulated by the Romney campaign, aides highlighted praise from Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu and the warm reception the candidate's foreign policy address received in Jerusalem.

And in Poland, Romney scored a big endorsement from former President Lech Walesa.

"Poland and many other countries will certainly do their best for the United States to restore its leadership position," Walesa said. "And after our conversation, I'm quite confident that you will be successful in doing that."

The former Polish leader then urged Romney to "get your success — be successful!"