July 25th, 2012
10:00 PM ET
6 years ago

'Special' controversy has Biden attacking, Romney denying

(CNN) – Mitt Romney said Wednesday that a racially charged anonymous quote in a British newspaper slamming President Barack Obama for his understanding of the United States' 'special relationship' with Britain did not come from him, and did not reflect the presumptive GOP nominee's views.

"I’m not sure who this person is, but I can tell you that we have a very special relationship between the United States and Great Britain," Romney said in an interview with NBC News. "But I also believe the president understands that."

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Obama supporters wasted no time jumping on the quote from an "adviser" to Romney with Vice President Joe Biden, among others, weighing in.

The quote, which appeared in The Daily Telegraph as Mitt Romney arrived in London for his three-country overseas tour, was sourced to an "adviser" to Romney. The newspaper said the person requested anonymity because the Romney campaign did not want to be seen as criticizing Obama to foreign media outlets.

"We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special," the adviser is quoted as saying. "The White House didn't fully appreciate the shared history we have."

The anonymous remark sparked an angry reaction from Biden Wednesday, who called the remarks "disturbing" in a statement released by Obama's re-election campaign.

"Despite his promises that politics stops at the water's edge, Governor Romney's wheels hadn't even touched down in London before his advisors were reportedly playing politics with international diplomacy, attempting to create daylight between the United States and the United Kingdom where none exists," Biden wrote.

He went on to list a series of issues he said were indicative of a relationship with Britain that was "stronger than ever," including Afghanistan, missile defense and Iran.

"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 wrote. "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."

Responding to Biden's remarks, Romney chided the use of anonymous quotes.

“First of all, I’m genuinely not enthusiastic about adopting the comments made by people who are unnamed. I have a lot of advisers, actually we’ve gone from calling the rope line where I shake hands everyday to the advice line, because we have a lot of people that offer advice. So I’m not sure who this person is, but I can tell you that we have a very special relationship between the United States and Great Britain," Romney said in the NBC News interview, building on the pushback his campaign had already initiated earlier in the day.

He added: "It goes back to our very beginnings, culture and historical, but I also believe the president understands that, so I don’t agree with whoever that adviser might be, but do agree that we have a very common bond between ourselves and Great Britain.”

David Axelrod, a senior adviser to Obama's campaign, was also critical on Twitter, writing: "Mitt's trip off to flying start, even before he lands, with stunningly offensive quotes from his team in British press."

Romney arrived in London early Wednesday, his first stop on a three-country tour meant to bolster his foreign policy credentials months ahead of November's general election.

On Thursday Romney is slated to meet with virtually every major British political leader, including Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and opposition leader Ed Miliband. He will also meet with William Hague, the U.K. foreign secretary, and former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

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Filed under: Mitt Romney • Vice President Biden
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Steve- Illinois

    An unnamed advisor claims "blah, blah, blah," and everyone jumps on it?
    These people need a life!

    July 25, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  2. Donkey Party

    "Worst Republican candidate ever". – R. Santorum campaign event, 2012, commenting on Willard Romney

    July 25, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. FORWARD into the Obama FISCAL ABYSS

    Looks like the lame Obama campaign is grasping at straws trying to get Obama's "you didn't make that" comment off the front pages.... Good luck with that. Obama's campaign is getting more and more desperate every day.

    BTW, didn't Obama send a statue of Churchhill back to the Brits?

    July 25, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  4. John, PA

    There is nothing wrong with criticizing Obama in the foreign media, American media, TV, radio or any other outlet. The Democrats in Congress, president Obama, the Obama administration is a complete FAILURE.

    July 25, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. lies from the right but mostly hate

    Will he visit switzerland ? his country of choice

    July 25, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  6. Taylor

    You know its true.........old white man.....come on. This is a shame to say something like that away from home and home too. Romney is no good he will do and say anything to be President. Is this the kind of person you want in the White House ?

    July 25, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  7. was for obama, now for romney

    hmm seems suspicious....phony romney advisor i bet...

    July 25, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  8. mgc tampa

    What a surprise, they seem to really enjoy the lying game. Who is Mitt Romney anyway, does anybody know????

    July 25, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. Romney is unAmerican

    Romney and his staff have no Ethics nor Credibility and has been stated by Republicans Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum – now you can see why. It is not about the United States it is about Mitt – he has shown this the way he cost the US Jobs by outsourcing and putting his money in Banks outside the US to Evade paying Taxes. It has been an unwritten rule not to criticize a sitting President while on Foreign Soil – adhered to by both political parties. I guess since he has so much money invested in other countries he does not feel this really applies to Mittens!

    July 25, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. PHIL TJ

    Mitt is playing a racist card here. This is beyond desparation. This is childish, stupid and not presidential campaign. The Britons are not dump like Mitt.

    July 25, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  11. mikle

    When Obama really working? 107 money make meeting, golf,vacations and bla-bla-bla. Where is yes we can, change, hope-Where?????. in trash ???? Probably.

    July 25, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. Lionel

    Romney's foreign affairs experience consist of outsourcing jobs to china and india, secret bank accounts in Switerland and Cayman Islands to avoid US taxes.

    Oh yeah, and that business he has created in the Bahamas which he does not want to talk about and no one knows what it does.

    70% of his foreign policy advisers are former Bush/Cheney staffers.
    Please don't vote for these Bush/Cheney bafoons.

    Obama / Biden 2012

    July 25, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. once upon a horse

    Newt Gingrich even said that Mitt Romney was running the most dishonest campaign he had seen. Well when you run a campaign built on negative stuff sometimes true some time false...you really don't get the benefit of the doubt very much. Mitt might be innocent in this case, but............

    July 25, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  14. You People Aint Seeing Our Tax Returns

    When will Romney start to lead in national polls?
    For more than ten months, Romney and his allies have been attacking the president on every issue.
    It seems the American people are no longer paying attention to Romney's rantings.
    Now his irrelevance might go beyond the borders.

    July 25, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  15. malcolm Spence

    This statement was reported by the British press after he landed. I assume they were being briefed off the record by the Romney advisors. Why would they publish something from someone they could not vouch for.

    BTW Britain has not been Anglo Saxon since 1066 when the Normans conquered us and William and his Norman Lords became the 1%. We are just Brits.

    July 25, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  16. Orwell seen it before

    BishopRomney's people do as he says or wants, just like at Bain.

    July 25, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  17. Charlotte

    Oh dear GOD I never thought I'd say this about anyone....but.....Romney makes Sarah Palin look smart.

    July 25, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. Time For Mitt to Fess Up

    Mitt never makes mistakes... everyone should be aware of that by now. Mitt has people around him that make mistakes, but as far as Mitt making mistakes.. it just doesn't happen. Lets list his accomplishments: 1) He saved the Salt Lake Olympics single handedly, without any help.. well except for the millions and millions of taxpayer dollars. 2) He saved Staples Office Supply allowing thousands of people to save thier jobs... and a greatly reduced salary.
    No mistakes.. When he was listed as CEO of Bain Capitol, he was reponsible for exactly zero of their mistakes... it was his employees who made those bad decisions. When he writes a letter to major newspaper saying that Obama plan will not save american auto industry, it was not his fault he was wrong.. instead it is because Obama listened to him that it actually survived.
    Mitt... the perfect... the future god of his very own planet.

    July 25, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  19. 333maxwell

    Did the Romney camp Sununu again?

    You know, you float this stuff, give it legs, let it get out and around to your target audience and then deny it later after the faithful have got their daily dose of resentment in.

    Seems to be this Governors mode of operation. It seems very cowardly. Like slapping someone and then running away before they can reply in kind.

    July 25, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special," the adviser is quoted as saying. "The White House didn't fully appreciate the shared history we have."
    Anglo-Saxon heritage, thus President Obama, a non-Anglo-Saxon couldn't possibly appreciate a relationship based on a shared history of among other things slavery and colonialism.
    Oh, I don't know. I think our non Anglo-Saxon President has a really, REALLY good appreciation of that relationship.
    What a PIG.

    July 25, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    FORWARD into the Obama FISCAL ABYSS

    Looks like the lame Obama campaign is grasping at straws trying to get Obama's "you didn't make that" comment off the front pages.... Good luck with that. Obama's campaign is getting more and more desperate every day.
    Ahem. Wasn't it first reported by media outlets run by News Corp?

    "Nice try, but we gotcha."

    July 25, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  22. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The "CODE WORDS" used by Romney and his people on U.S. soil is just being broken down in simple terms so Anglo-Saxons in other countries clearly understand what they mean.

    July 25, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. Maxx

    Not off to a good start, eh Mitt? What do you talk to these people about, your car elevator?

    July 25, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. Laverne

    Of course Romney's team was responsible for the ad! Romney have been running very negative ads all year and somehow people think Obama is the one being very negative. It is a disgrace that the Romney team continue to throw rocks and then put their hands behind their backs and insist they are doing nothing. President Obama will have to out smart, out wit and out last his opponent before kicking his butt back in Nov. Strategic ads, surrogates and campaigning is going to be key for him. Romney may have more money, but does not mean he has more sense. Romney and his posse are bound to make a major mistake, arrogance always defeats itself. All the Obama camp has to do is sit and watch their prey carefully and then strike at the right time and take him out!!!

    July 25, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  25. kevin

    Was it one of Murdock's tabloids?

    July 25, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
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