Vice President Joe Biden today accused Mitt Romney of trying to “score political points” on the eve of his trip to the United Kingdom, after an unnamed Romney adviser was quoted in the London Telegraph saying that President Obama does not fully appreciate “Anglo-Saxon heritage.”
“Despite his promises that politics stops at the water’s edge, Governor Romney’s wheels hadn’t even touched down in London before his advisers were reportedly playing politics with international diplomacy, attempting to create daylight between the United States and the United Kingdom where none exists,” Biden said in a statement.
“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. 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 said.
One of the Romney advisers, whose names were withheld by the paper, said of the bilateral relationship, “We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he [Romney] feels that the special relationship is special. The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have.”
Another adviser told the paper, “Obama is a left-winger. He doesn’t value the NATO alliance as much. He’s very comfortable with American decline and the traditional alliances don’t mean as much to him. He wouldn’t like singing ‘Land of Hope and Glory.’”
Read the entire Telegraph piece HERE.
The comments have created a stir online and in the political world both for their perceived racial undertones and that the attack on Obama comes in spite of pledges by Romney’s campaign to refrain from doing so while he is overseas.
Senior Obama adviser David Axelrod called the heritage comment “stunningly offensive.”
Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg appeared to disavow the anonymous advisers’ comments when asked about them by ABC News.
“It’s not true,” she said in a statement. “If anyone said that, they weren’t reflecting the views of Governor Romney or anyone inside the campaign.”
She did not clarify when asked what exactly is “not true.”
UPDATE: Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams later clarified that the Telegraph had published a “false quote” and pointed the finger back at Biden for seizing on an anonymous comment in a “foreign newspaper.”
“The president’s own press secretary has repeatedly discredited anonymous sources, yet his political advisers saw fit to advance a falsehood,” Williams said in a statement. ”We have more faith in American voters, and know they will see this latest desperate ploy for what it is.”
Meanwhile, the Telegraph said in a statement to the liberal blog Think Progress that it stands by the quotes from Romney advisers in the story.
Jon Swaine, the Telegraph reporter who interviewed the Romney advisers left unnamed in his piece, also clarified on Twitter that the controversial remark came from “a member of the foreign policy advisory team.”
ABC News’ Michael Falcone and Emily Friedman contributed to this report.