July 25th, 2012
10:00 PM ET
2 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. johnmenacherjr

    yup Forward unnamed person you are off to the bigoted abyss your comments are just to tick off people Go and follow your Mormon bishop because he has moer "christian" values than anyone and from a defined cult to boot Romney is the worst excuse to date as a candidate and I have seen quite a few in my years, you are a whack job, do you kick puppies as well?

    July 25, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    By the way, our non Anglo-Saxon President, as far as many of us are concerned, is finally at home in the house that his ancestors built: the White House.
    White House indeed. Ludicrous.

    July 25, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  3. California

    Hussein/Biden, if you truly want to destroy the country.

    July 25, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. PaulCat

    The republicans can't " handle the truth."

    July 25, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. Drew

    How's that foot taste, Mitt?

    July 25, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  6. Brooke

    You may not like the President but he is the better fit of the American people. This race thing needs to STOP, they have be trying this for the last 4 years black on white and its not going to work. This is not the 1900"s people change and they change for the good. The President have been called everthing except the child of God and he is still holding his head up high, this is the kind of man that I want to lead .....not Romney who will lie and say anything. For him to play the race card , is a shame. People are smarter today. Yes there are still some out there that loves this kind of behavior, You may not like the President because of his skin color, but he is for the people. And the white poor and middle class, Romney is not for you, so you better put on your thinkers cap and see the big picture.

    July 25, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. FORWARD into the Obama FISCAL ABYSS

    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.
    =============================================================================================
    Yes, you and the Democrats are famous for turning every word in the English language into some "code word" or some imaginery racist remark. Reality is that the people calling others racist are the biggest racists on the planet. Which only makes sense since the Democrats opposed the civil rights movement in the 60s.

    July 25, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  8. vic , nashville ,tn

    Last thing Romney Campaign need to talk about this

    State GOP executives in the middle between RNC and county GOP executives, the party doesn’t know which direction to take.
    Romney Campaign is not helping his party , day by day Romney Campaign is creating more mess other hand Michelle Bachman and crew doing the same

    July 25, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  9. Wake up people

    And this guy thinks he should be the POTUS?? We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage. And the White House doesn't fully appreciate that. Willard always manages to slither away after one of his followers disrespects President Obama once again. What I want to know is why is President Obama held to a higher standard than anyone else. Why was it his fault when Hilary Rosen spoke the truth about Anne Robmey but never Robmeys fault when his people say nasty, negative things about President Obama? Come on Willard, we all know you and your kind greek brown skin is a curse. This man is such a liar and will do anything to get in the White House.

    OBAMA 2012!

    July 25, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  10. Romney is not My Hero

    From the Plastic Camp (AKA GOP): "Well golly gee whiz, We only spread hate in the USA, not overseas". – Mr. Plastic strikes again.

    OBAMA 2012!

    July 25, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  11. ryan

    Ah, nothing better than the Romney camp airing America's dirty laundry over seas. What an embarassment the GOP has become.

    July 25, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  12. Dave

    Now the Romney campaign denies the comment... That's a big surprise. These people lie like most people breathe...

    July 25, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  13. Tony

    People,
    Give it a rest. Obama is half-white. He has Anglo-Saxon heritage from his mother. To say that Obama does not understand America's special relationship with Britain is just laughable. You don't even need to be whites to understand that.

    July 25, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. amlcpamaine

    Typical Romney pandering, this time to Brits who might not like our having a non-Anglo-Saxon president. These people are shameful and have no guile, and it will get worse. The political situation in Israel is quite divided, with Bibi's government representing the hard-right, and they do things like walk all over negotiated peace agreements to let their citizens build homes on Palestinians' land. How would you like it if Romney's people suddenly declared that Mormons had the right to build their homes on land you had in your name? Romney will use the devisiveness to gain points, even if years of peace talks have to be walked back on. This guy is no patriot, he's a pandering coward with only one god: money in his pocket.

    July 25, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. California Gary

    Oh oh.......seems there is a "leak" in the Romney camp. Better appoint a special prosecutor and let heads roll Mitt!

    July 25, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    . If you've got your head buried in the sand and think that something other than race was being alluded to when this eejit used the words "Anglo-Saxon" then you should move the rest of the crap you own into that sandpit with you.
    I wouldn't ask nor want Romney the Turd to come out and express the apology due to President Obama with this most blatantly racist comment
    An apology from a pusillanimous liar the likes of a Mitt Romney would be less than worthless.

    July 25, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  17. CBR

    Unfortunately Mr. Rlomney knows all about the quotes being made. If you read his remarks about foreign policy you saw his veiled attempt to sully Mr. Obama's record. If the special relationship with Great Britain exists based on race or background then we do not have much of a relationship. It is insulting to both side.

    The United States is a nation of people from all over the world. It is time the Republican conservatives understood this. Whether in the media or underground the conservatives must accept the facts.

    July 25, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  18. The Other Dale

    And this is just the start of his trip!

    No worries though, Republicans apologists are already insisting that it's a plot by Obama. They're still tring to figure out how to pin the whole tax-returns thing on him as well, but they'll get there.

    There's a good reason people in general think the GOP is a joke right now. This is just one of them.

    July 25, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Tony

    People,
    Give it a rest. Obama is half-white. He has Anglo-Saxon heritage from his mother.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Tony it is shameful to say that in 2012 in this my United States of America there are still those, including police officers, that would harm, degrade, and deny someone who LOOKS like our President before they ask him about the other half of his heritage. So regardless of his half Anglo-Saxon heritage you know, and I know, and all of us know that our President is still perceived and TREATED as a Black man in this country, and if it were up to Romney's crew, abroad as well.
    Let's not go blind in the daylight.

    July 25, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    How come Romney isn't visiting the troops in Afghanistan?

    July 25, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  21. once upon a horse

    @ John, PA

    so there is nothing wrong with criticzing Obama in the foriegn meida? Well you remember the DIXIE CHICKS??? When they were critical of President Bush while over in the same England, your right wing buddies went NUTS. They banned playing their records, had their concerts cancelled, and practically ran them out of the country. Even I thought it was wrong of them to be critical of the president over there. But it's ok to be critical of Obama anywhere, huh? You guys are something else.

    July 25, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. sonny chapman

    Didn't the Dixie Chicks get hammered for dissing a Sitting US Prez while they were in England ? I'm sure we'll hear more on this story on Fox tonight.

    July 25, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  23. California

    once upon a horse – Same can be said about when democrats called and made references to Bush being Hitler ect... It was OK back then but not now? The hypocrisy is very thick these days.

    July 25, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  24. spartan74

    Romney is a liar, in fact his entire campaign is a lie. He has to detail any plan for the country and our problems. All he can do is bad mouth the president with half truths, quotes taken out of context and just plain out and out lies. This kind of crap is exactly what the Romney campaign does.

    July 25, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  25. The Real Tom Paine

    -FORWARD into the Obama FISCAL ABYSS

    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.
    =============================================================================================
    Yes, you and the Democrats are famous for turning every word in the English language into some "code word" or some imaginery racist remark. Reality is that the people calling others racist are the biggest racists on the planet. Which only makes sense since the Democrats opposed the civil rights movement in the 60s.
    *******************************************************
    Really? And who helped turn the South red for the GOP? The aforementioned conservative Democrats who jumped ship, and found a very willing home in the GOP because they were willing to turn their backs on Civil Rights to win white working -class votes. Learn to finish the history lesson before you start spouting off, junior. The code words you claim are solely the creation of Democrats have been lovingly picked up and used by the GOP for over 2 generations, so your claims of " Democrats have done everything evil in the universe' rings more than a little hollow. Home-schooled, I assume?

    July 25, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
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