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Wednesday
Jul252012

Axelrod: Romney Adviser's 'Anglo-Saxon' Comment 'Stunningly Offensive'

Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Just hours after arriving in London, the Romney campaign appeared to violate its own promise to not attack the president while overseas when two anonymous campaign advisers suggested President Obama could not fully understand the "Anglo-Saxon heritage" between the U.S. and Britain.

The Obama campaign swiftly responded, calling the anonymous attacks "stunningly offensive" and even the reporter who sat down with the Romney advisers warned the "remarks may prompt accusations of racial insensitivity."

"We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he [Romney] feels that the special relationship is special," the Romney adviser told British newspaper The Telegraph. "The White House didn't fully appreciate the shared history we have."

It was those remarks that led reporter John Swain to note they could be read as racially insensitive, given the president's mixed African and European heritage.

"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 [British hymn] 'Land of Hope and Glory,'" another adviser told the paper.

No details were given to identify the staffers or their position in the campaign. Nor did the advisers give any details as to how Romney's relationship to British Prime Minister David Cameron would be different from Obama's.

After reading an initial ABC News report about the comments, Obama advisor David Axelrod tweeted "Mitt's trip off to flying start, even before he lands, with stunningly offensive quotes from his team in British press."

Vice President Biden also criticized the remark. "Despite his promises that politics stops at the water's edge, Gov. Romney's wheels hadn't even touched down in London before his advisers were reportedly playing politics with international diplomacy," Biden said.

"The comments reported this morning are a disturbing start to a trip designed to demonstrate Gov. Romney's readiness to represent the United States on the world's stage... This assertion is beneath a presidential campaign," the vice president said. Romney today kicked off a six-day international tour that includes Britain, Israel and Poland. The advisers spoke on the condition of anonymity became staffers have been told not criticize the president while overseas. The Romney campaign denied the authenticity of the article.

"It's not true," Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said in a statement to ABC News. "If anyone said that, they weren't reflecting the views of Gov. Romney or anyone inside the campaign."

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