The Romney campaign today smacked down Vice President Biden for attacking Mitt Romney over an alleged Romney adviser’s anonymous quote that Biden said said was “beneath a presidential campaign.”
The quote, from a Daily Telegraph article that relied on several unnamed sources supposedly serving as “advisers” to Romney, said “one” of them indicated Romney’s appreciation of America’s “Anglo-Saxon heritage” would make him a better partner than Obama for Great Britain, where Romney today landed for a visit:
In remarks that may prompt accusations of racial insensitivity, one suggested that Mr Romney was better placed to understand the depth of ties between the two countries than Mr Obama, whose father was from Africa.
“We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special,” the adviser said of Mr Romney, adding: “The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have.”
The Telegraph is the very same paper White House Press Secretary Jay Carney dismissed derisively after it reported in January that Michelle Obama had dropped $50,000 on lingerie, asserting that “when I was a reporter, usually the standard for British tabloid reporting was the assumption that it was false.”
Nevertheless, in a statement released by the Obama campaign, Biden immediately pounced:
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.
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.
The Romney campaign retorted that it was Biden who had “diminished” the campaign by seizing on “an anonymous and false quote.”
From Romney spokesman Ryan Williams:
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. The President’s own press secretary has repeatedly discredited anonymous sources, yet his political advisors saw fit to advance a falsehood. We have very serious problems confronting our nation and American families are hurting, yet the Obama campaign continues to try to divert voters’ attention with specious shiny objects. We have more faith in American voters, and know they will see this latest desperate ploy for what it is.
Biden’s attack on Romney is deeply irresponsible, particularly for a vice president.
To assail Romney for an anonymous quote is bad enough. But as a reporter, I can tell you that even if the quote is correct, Biden is way off base. I’ve seen the term “adviser” used to characterize just about anyone.
While the attribution suggests the source is someone from within the campaign, the person could easily be a person outside of it, like a major contributor who sometimes has access to Romney and gives him “advice.” Or, perhaps, it could be some self-important Republican who has chatted with Romney once or twice or has some friends on the campaign, and so puffs himself up as an adviser.
Biden should withdraw his statement, but of course, he won’t.