LONDON (AP) — U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney tried Thursday to quiet grumblings over comments that seemed to question Britain's readiness to host the Olympic Games, now saying he expects the games to be a success.
After meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron at his Downing Street residence, the Republican told reporters he expects the games "to be highly successful." He said he and Cameron talked about the "great progress" that has been made in the games, which have been criticized for security woes and organization.
Romney said some things always go wrong but that the games prove successful once the athletes become the focus.
Earlier Thursday, Romney said errors should be expected.
"It is impossible for absolutely no mistakes to occur," Romney said as he met main opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband at the Houses of Parliament.
"Of course there will be errors from time to time, but those are all overshadowed by the extraordinary demonstrations of courage, character and determination by the athletes," he said.
Before a women's soccer match Wednesday, British authorities mistakenly flashed the South Korean flag on a jumbo screen instead of North Korea's, prompting the North Koreans to refuse to take the field for nearly an hour.
Romney, who served as the head of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, was meeting with British leaders and senior lawmakers on the eve of the opening ceremonies for the London Olympics. He had hoped his international travel would bolster his foreign policy credentials and help Americans see him as a credible challenger to President Barack Obama.
After meetings with Cameron and Miliband, reporters pressed Romney to clarify his remarks Wednesday that some in Britain had interpreted as criticism of the country's preparations for the Olympics.
"You know, it's hard to know just how well it ... will turn out," Romney said in the interview with NBC News.
He cited problems with the G4S security contractor, which has struggled to provide enough guards for sporting venues, prompting Britain to call up thousands of extra troops. Romney also noted worries over a planned strike this week by British immigration staff, a walkout that has since been averted.
"There are a few things that were disconcerting" as Britain made final preparations for the opening ceremony, Romney said.
Cameron told reporters that Romney and others would soon "see beyond doubt that Britain can deliver."