The campaign of Mitt Romney was in damage control Wednesday, as it sought to defuse a controversy over reported comments from an unnamed adviser.
The Telegraph reported Tuesday that one of Romney’s foreign policy advisers had told the newspaper that President Barack Obama does not “appreciate” the close relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.
“We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special,” the unnamed adviser reportedly said. “The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have.”
Another adviser was quoted as saying that Obama is “very comfortable with American decline and the traditional alliances don’t mean as much to him.”
The Romney campaign said that the report was inaccurate.
“It’s not true,” campaign spokesperson Amanda Henneberg said, according to a National Journal report. However, Henneberg appeared to allow that the statement might have been made.
“If anyone said that, they weren’t reflecting the views of Governor Romney or anyone inside the campaign,” she said.
“The comments reported this morning are a disturbing start to a trip designed to demonstrate Governor Romney’s readiness to represent the United States on the world’s stage,” Biden said in a statement. “Not surprisingly, this is just another feeble attempt by the Romney campaign to score political points at the expense of this critical partnership. This assertion is beneath a presidential campaign.”
The Romney campaign responded, saying, “Today, the race for the highest office in our land was diminished to a sad level when the Vice President of the United States used an anonymous and false quote from a foreign newspaper to prop up their flailing campaign.”
This is not the first time that the Romney campaign has had to fend off questions of racial insensitivity. Earlier this month, Romney was blasted for saying that people who want “free stuff” should vote for Obama, immediately after addressing the NAACP convention.
The controversy was a distraction as Romney started a three-nation tour designed to burnish his weak foreign policy credentials. Obama’s foreign policy record, which includes the end of the Iraq War, the liberation of Libya, and the death of Osama bin Laden, is one of Obama’s key strengths going into the fall.
Photo credit: Jeff Fecke