Romney campaign brands UK racism allegations ‘untrue’
By Cassie Chambers
Comments made by Mitt Romney advisors that praise the "Anglo-Saxon heritage" of the UK are "not true", the candidate's team said today.
Responding to the international backlash from the controversial comments, the Republican presidential campaign emphasised that the quote—criticised as having 'dog-whistle' racist undertones—did not reflect the candidate's views.
"It's not true. If anyone said that, they weren't reflecting the views of Governor Romney or anyone inside the campaign," Andrea Saul, Romney's press secretary, said to CBS news.
Saul did not respond to the news organisation's attempts to clarify what was untrue about the comments.
Romney was widely criticised for the remarks, which appeared in the Telegraph ahead of the candidate's arrival in London today.
Obama strategist David Axelrod struck back on Twitter, calling the quote "stunningly offensive".
He wrote: "Mitt's trip off to flying start, even before he lands, with stunningly offensive quotes from his team in British press."
The comments have been interpreted in some quarters as a jibe against Barack Obama's mixed parentage.
"We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special," the advisor told the Telegraph.
"The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have."
The advisor also questioned Obama's patriotism, stating that the president was "very comfortable with America's decline".
They went on to accuse the president of "left wing" coolness towards London, a trend the campaign said Romney would reverse.
The anonymous advisor also pledged to return a bust of Winston Churchill to the Oval Office, which was removed by Obama when he took office.
In 2009 Obama was criticised for failing to give enough importance to US-UK ties after he repeatedly refused to meet with Gordon Brown at a UN convention.
Critics also cite his failure to back the UK in its Falkland Islands dispute as evidence the president does not appropriately value the special relationship between the two countries.
Yet advisors to the Romney campaign could not give details of how US policy toward the UK would change if their candidate were elected.
When asked about the European crisis, an advisor admitted "I'm not sure what our policy response is".
The comments—which stirred up controversy among those who see them as a strategic move to put Obama's Kenyan heritage into political play—came on the eve of Romney's first trip to London as a presumptive presidential nominee.
Romney arrived in London early Wednesday and will meet with David Cameron and Ed Miliband on Thursday.
On Friday he will attend the Olympic opening ceremony.
The trip is designed to combat the Obama campaign's accusation that Romney is a "novice" at foreign policy.
The comments are likely to draw a strong response from the White House; President Obama reminded Romney that "America's political differences end at the water's edge", after a Romney advisor criticised the president to the German press earlier this month.