(WARSAW, Poland) -- A top aide to Mitt Romney insisted today that the Republican presidential candidate's foreign trip has been "great" just hours after a blow up that caught an angry aide telling the press corps to "kiss my a**."
The outburst came on the final day of a tumultuous three-country tour that has featured a controversy at every stop along the way, from Britain to Israel and Poland. Romney told Fox News today that the controversies were the result of the press "trying to find anything else" to write about.
"I realize that there will be some in the fourth estate or whatever estate who are far more interested in finding something to write about that is unrelated to the economy, to geopolitics, to the threat of war, to the reality of conflict in Afghanistan today, to a nuclearization of Iran," Romney said.
"They are instead trying to find anything else to divert from the fact that these last four years have been tough years for our country," he said.
The Romney campaign has been embroiled in controversies since the trip began in London, and before leaving Poland today Romney adviser Stuart Stevens insisted, "It's been a great trip."
"This is big stuff, big issues, that's what matters, and I think people heard from that and heard it straight for the heart and I think they liked it very much," Stevens said. "Some people may disagree with his stance on these things, but that's fair enough, that's why we have elections."
Stevens spoke shortly after Romney spokesman Rich Gorka told reporters, who were lobbing questions at Romney over a rope line, that they could "kiss my a**" and, to one in particular: "Shove it!" The exchange occurred as Romney left the site of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw and Gorka told the reporters to "have some respect...This is a holy site for the Polish people."
Gorka has since apologized for the "inappropriate" choice of words.
The press has complained that Romney has not taken any questions from the U.S. press during the trip and wanted to ask him about comments that stirred anger about London's preparedness for the Olympics, and comments in Israel that a top Palestinian described as racist.
In addition, the Chinese government-controlled Xinhua news agency weighed in today on Romney's statement Sunday that the U.S. should move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel's "capital" in Jerusalem. Those words, according to the Chinese, "are likely to worsen the already tense Mideast situation, and even reignite a war between Palestinians and Israelis."
Romney's rocky road trip began when a foreign policy adviser told Britain's Telegraph newspaper that Romney could better appreciate the shared "Anglo-Saxon heritage" between the U.S. and Britain. He later angered Brits, including the mayor of London, by suggesting that London wasn't ready to host the Olympics. His staff also said they had hoped to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but found out that she was on vacation.
Romney questioned Britain's readiness on the eve of the Olympics, drawing sharp rebukes from potential political allies Prime Minister David Cameron and Boris Johnson, the London mayor; He appeared to forget the name of opposition, Labor party chief Ed Miliband, publicly addressing him as "Mr. Leader"; and later, speaking, in Israel, he seemed to blame Palestinian culture for holding back their economy, which has been heavily restricted by the Israeli government.
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