British opposition leader makes fun of Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney's gaffe-filled overseas tour this summer served up lots of comedic fodder for Democrats. Senator John Kerry noted that for Romney, "an overseas trip is what you call it when you trip all over yourself overseas." Referencing the Republican candidate's criticism of London Olympics organizers during his visit to the United Kingdom, President Obama observed that "you might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can't visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally." Now, it seems, Ed Miliband, Britain's Labour Party leader, is getting in on the action. In an address to a party conference this week, Miliband reflected on his meeting with Romney in London:  

You may have noticed that doing this job you get called some names, some of the nice, some of them not so nice. Let me tell you my favorite; it was when Mitt Romney came to Britain and called me ‘Mr Leader.' I don't know about you but I think it has a certain ring to it myself, it's sort of half-way to North Korea. Mitt, thanks a lot for that.

Here's a clip of Romney calling Miliband 'Mr. Leader' back in July (Miliband stays straight-faced):

The joke fell pretty flat, apparently.  The Independent reports that it "did not work, partly because he rushed the timing" (the Guardian actually timed the length of applause -- a paltry three seconds). I imagine Romney wouldn't appreciate it either.

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images


Protests hit Iran

The Iranian rial has plummeted to an all-time low, losing roughly 80 percent of its value since the end of 2011. Now, the effects are being felt on the streets of Tehran: Riot police used teargas to disperse protesters who gathered outside the central bank to denounce the government's stewardship of the economy.  

As Iranian officials work to stabilize the currency, the capital's central bazaar also closed for security reasons. The above video, courtesy of BBC Persian, shows a hundreds-strong protest as well as the shuttered shops of bazaar merchants. Another video provides a glimpse of a protest at the entrance to the bazaar. 

It's impossible to know how this situation will develop -- but it has potential consequences for Iran and the entire Middle East. It also remains an open question how the White House would react to an outbreak of domestic unrest in Iran: A recent New York Times article reported that President Barack Obama "expressed regret" about his muted reaction to the 2009 protests in the country.  "There was a feeling of ‘we ain't gonna be behind the curve on this again,'" said one senior administration official.

That's a promise U.S. officials may have to make good on sooner rather than later.