Updated at 2:30 p.m.
Vice President Joe Biden chastised Mitt Romney Wednesday over comments published in a British newspaper and attributed to an anonymous Romney foreign policy adviser — comments the Romney campaign has rejected as “not true.”
“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 said in a statement. “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.”
(Read the full Biden statement below.)
The Obama campaign confirmed to TPM that Biden was referring to a story published in the Daily Telegraph Tuesday night. The story quoted an anonymous member of the Romney “foreign policy team” promising Romney would return the bust of Winston Churchill to the Oval Office and restore what the source called a more traditional status to the relationship between Britain and the United States.
“We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special,” the unnamed adviser told the paper. “The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have.”
The Telegraph claimed the comments could “prompt accusations of racial insensitivity” on the part of Team Romney. ThinkProgress and other outlets took up that charge.
On Wednesday, the Romney campaign denied the story.
“It’s not true,” Romney spokesperson Amanda Henneberg said in quotes confirmed by TPM. “If anyone said that, they weren’t reflecting the views of Gov. Romney or anyone inside the campaign.”
The Romney campaign did not respond to questions about whether it would seek a retraction of the story. The Telegraph, which stands by the piece, told TPM that the paper has not received a request from the Romney campaign to retract or correct the story.
But the campaign did reject Biden’s attack.
“Today, the race for the highest office in our land was diminished to a sad level when the vice president of the United States used an anonymous and false quote from a foreign newspaper to prop up their flailing campaign,” Romney spokesperson Ryan Williams said in http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entries/romney-campaign-dismisses-anglo-saxon-attack”>statement.
The story comes as Romney kicks off an international trip with a two-day stop in England.
The full Biden statement:
“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. Our special relationship with the British is stronger than ever and we are proud to work hand-in-hand with Prime Minister Cameron to confront every major national security challenge we face today. On every major issue — from Afghanistan to missile defense, from the fight against international terrorism to our success in isolating countries like Iran whose nuclear programs threaten peace and stability — we’ve never been more in sync. 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.”