Romney denied anyone from his campaign was behind the anti-Thompson site.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney called a now defunct Web site that attacked former Sen. Tennessee Fred Thompson "juvenile and offensive" Wednesday, and said no one from his presidential campaign was behind it.
"There's no place in politics for those kind of hijinks," Romney told the Associated Press. “The person who put it up was acting on his own. I've said I do not want to have that person in any way associated with my campaign."
Romney and Thompson are competing for the GOP presidential nomination.
The Web site in question, www.phonyfred.org, was created by Wes Donehue, an associate consultant and vice president of the firm Tompkins, Thompson, and Sullivan. A principal of the firm – Warren Tompkins – is a paid advisor to Romney’s presidential campaign.
The Washington Post was first to report the site's link to Romney's campaign and it was soon taken down. The campaign later denied it had any involvement with the site or knew of its existence.
But a spokesman for Thompson's campaign dismissed the denial late Tuesday, calling it a "half-baked cover-up attempt by the Romney campaign [that] does not even pass the laugh test."
A screen grab of the site captured by the Post before it was taken down shows a banner headline describing the Tennessee Republican as “Phony Fred.” Subcategories are titled: “Hollywood Fred”; “Washington Fred”; “Pimp Fred”; and “McCain Fred.”
– CNN's Xuan Thai and Alexander Mooney