The day before Romney’s tour started, an anonymous adviser said that the Republican nominee has better understanding the depth of ties between the two countries than President Obama, whose father was from Africa.
“We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special,” the adviser said of Romney, adding: “The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have”.
Andrea Saul, Romney’s spokesperson, dismissed the comments and singled out that they did not reflect the beliefs of the former Massachusetts governor, CBS News reports.
“It’s not true. If anyone said that, they weren’t reflecting the views of Governor Romney or anyone inside the campaign,” she told reporters in an email.
Later on Wednesday, in an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams the Republican nominee was asked about the quotes.
“I’m generally not enthusiastic about adopting the comments made by people who are unnamed. I have a lot of advisers,” he told Williams.
“Actually we’ve gone from calling the rope line where I shake hands every day to the advice line. Because you have a lot of people that offer advice. So I’m not sure who this person is.”
The candidate continued: “But I can tell you that we have a very special relationship between the United States and Great Britain. It goes back to our very beginnings – cultural and- and historical. But I also believe the president understands that. So I- I don’t agree with whoever that adviser might be.”
Romney arrived in London to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on Friday. It’s his first stop in a week-long trip.
He is also scheduled to visit Israel and Poland as the former Massachusetts governor tries to burnish his foreign policy credentials and present himself as a viable alternative to the Democratic incumbent.
In a statement, Vice President Joe Biden charged the Romney campaign with using the trip abroad to “score political points.”
“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.
“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,” he added.
David Axelrod, a top campaign adviser to the president, called the quotes stunningly offensive. “Mitt’s trip off to flying start, even before he lands, with stunningly offensive quotes from his team in British press,” he wrote.
The Romney campaign responded to Biden’s comments hammering him for paying credence to the quote, and accused him of attempting to “divert voters’ attention with specious shiny objects.”
“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,” said Romney spokesman Ryan Williams in a statement.
“The President’s own press secretary has repeatedly discredited anonymous sources, yet his political advisors saw fit to advance a falsehood. We have more faith in American voters, and know they will see this latest desperate ploy for what it is,” he concluded.