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Tensions boil over between Mitt Romney campaign and press corps

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney wrapped
up his seven-day foreign trip Tuesday — but not
before becoming enmeshed in the most contentious media
controversy of an already volatile campaign jaunt that had
already seen media dust-ups occur in England and Israel.

Tuesday morning in Poland, the American press corps
covering Romney’s trip abroad was present when the
Republican presidential candidate laid a wreath on the
Poles’ Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The media
members were already significantly frustrated because, as
the Boston Globe reported Tuesday,
“Romney (had) not fielded questions from the
traveling press corps since last Thursday, when he was
still in London. He (did) not make himself available to
journalists on any of three charter flights since then,
including two that lasted more than four hours.”

After the wreath-laying ceremony ended, a couple of
reporters lobbed unsolicited questions at Romney. At that
point, the interaction between the media and Team Romney
veered sharply askew.

Politico’s Dylan Byers
, “Tensions came to a head in Warsaw
today when reporters, increasingly aware that there would
be no end-of-tour press (conference available) with the
candidate, began shouting questions at Romney as he walked
back to his vehicle. … ‘Kiss my (expletive);
this is a holy site for the Polish people,’ shouted
Rick Gorka, a traveling press aide who has tussled with
reporters before. ‘Show some respect.’

“Gorka then told a reporter to ‘shove it.’

Shortly thereafter, some of the traveling American
journalists took to Twitter to express their discontent.
For example, the New York Times’ Ashley
Parker tweeted
, “So it’s official: Romney is
leaving a 7-day foreign trip after answer only 3 Qs from
the media”; while in a similar vein, Associated Press reporter Kasie Hunt
, “Romney trip by the numbers: Three
foreign countries, and three questions from the traveling

Media controversy first occurred during Romney’s
international adventure when the candidate seemingly
angered all of England by using the word
to describe London’s
problems with Olympic preparations. Then in Israel, Romney outraged Palestinian leaders by
suggesting Israel’s culture is more conducive to
economic viability than Palestine’s.

Despite the pattern of dust-ups, Romney
steadfastly insisted
during a Tuesday interview with
Fox News that all the controversies were of the
media’s making.

“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,” he 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.”

For what it’s worth, the Power Line political blog
concurred with Romney’s analysis.
“Romney’s seven-day overseas trip has been
successful, but its press coverage has been almost
bizarrely hostile,” Power Line’s
John Hinderaker wrote Tuesday
. “I couldn’t
find anything in today’s speech out of which
reporters can gin up a controversy, but no doubt they will