Is That Your Final Answer, Mr. Romney?

July 23, 2012 5:47 p.m.

It’s looking more and more improbable that Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr really confided to Mitt Romney that he was pining for Mitt to get into the White House and use his business know-how to set America back on the straight and narrow.

TPM Reader BK checks in with this report from down under …

Here is a bit of background from an Australian on Bob Carr, the Australian Foreign Minister. First and foremost, Carr is a serious public intellectual and policy wonk. He is the author of several very nerdy books (including one, “My Reading Life” about books he has read). He is a strong supporter of the arts. He agrees with the prevailing science on global warming and has a long record on environmental issues. Second, in policy terms, Carr is is well to the left of both Romney and Obama.

In Australia, there is no political party as extreme as the modern GOP and Carr is a member of the Labor Party, which is the more left wing of our two party system and well to the left of the Democratic Party. He could never say so, but Bob Carr will be hoping for an Obama victory in November. Third, Carr is a seasoned and wily politician, who rarely uses words loosely. He was the longest serving Premier of NSW, our most populous state. He would have been very careful about what he said to Romney.

Like most Australians, he probably does think that America is in decline (not irreversibly, but the evidence is pretty clear), but there is no way he would say that to a conservative politician on US soil. His account of what he said to Romney is likely to be accurate. Finally, Carr knows more about US politics than most American politicians. I’m serious. He is a charter member of the Charles A Arthur Society. Carr did not blithely stumble into US domestic politics in the way Romney suggested.

Romney picked the wrong guy to use as a political pawn.

Here’s our report on the Australian Foreign Ministry’s rejection of Romney’s characterization of the talk with Mr. Carr.

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