"Anglo-Saxon" quote overshadows start of Romney tour

LONDON Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:26am IST

U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney addresses the 113th Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) National Convention in Reno, Nevada, July 24, 2012. REUTERS/James Glover

U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney addresses the 113th Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) National Convention in Reno, Nevada, July 24, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/James Glover

LONDON (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney began a foreign tour on Wednesday forced to disavow a report that an adviser had accused President Barack Obama of not understanding the shared "Anglo-Saxon heritage" of Britain and the United States.

As Romney arrived in London for a three-day stay, The Daily Telegraph quoted an unnamed Romney campaign adviser who lauded the special relationship between the two countries.

"We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special," the Telegraph quoted the adviser as saying, "The White House didn't fully appreciate the shared history we have."

The paper said the adviser's remarks "may prompt accusations of racial insensitivity."

Romney is in London to attend the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games on Friday, the first leg of a week-long trip that will also take him to Israel and Poland as he seeks to burnish his foreign policy credentials and present himself as a viable alternative to the Democratic incumbent.

Romney, in an NBC News interview, dismissed the comment but said the United States and Britain do enjoy specialties and that he believes Obama recognizes this as well.

"It goes back to our very beginnings -- cultural and historical. But I also believe the president understands that. So I don't agree with whoever that adviser might be, but do agree that we have a very common bond between ourselves and Great Britain," the former Massachusetts governor said.

The Obama re-election campaign, which is trying to portray Romney as a foreign policy novice, leaped on the Anglo-Saxon remark by issuing a statement from Vice President Joe Biden, who accused Romney of "playing politics with international diplomacy."

'DISTURBING START'

"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," Biden said.

Romney is to meet British Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour Party leader Ed Milliband and other British officials as well as former Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday.

While he is not expected to issue any policy pronouncements, all of the meetings will have carefully orchestrated photo opportunities with the aim of showing American voters images of Romney on the world stage.

Issues from back home, however, were still front and center. In the NBC interview, conducted from the Tower of London, Romney defended his decision not to release more of his tax records beyond the 2010 documents already released and the 2011 papers that are being worked on.

The Obama campaign has made a big issue out of Romney's tax records, suggesting he has something to hide.

Romney expressed ignorance about when a horse owned by his wife, Ann Romney, would be participating in the Olympic sport called dressage. Democrats have used the Romneys' involvement in the sport to call attention to their vast wealth. Ann Romney rides horses to relieve stress and ease symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

"I have to tell you. This is Ann's sport. I'm not even sure which day the sport goes on. She will get the chance to see it, I will not be watching the event. I hope her horse does well," he said.

Obama is trying to head off a strong challenge from Romney in a campaign largely centered on the weak U.S. economy. Romney is taking some risk by spending a week abroad in the heat of a close campaign since any comment he makes could be seen as criticizing the president, which most U.S. politicians are reluctant to do once they leave American shores.

To get around that problem, Romney set the stage for his trip with a scathing speech on American soil on Tuesday, accusing the president of mishandling foreign policy hot spots from the Middle East to China and neglecting U.S. allies.

Romney's visit to London is aimed at recalling the role he played in salvaging the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, a key portion of his resume as a businessman who can fix problems.

That part of his biography has come under fire from the Obama campaign, which insists that at that time he was still nominally in control of Bain Capital, a private equity firm that had shipped some U.S. jobs overseas.

(Editing by Alistair Bell and Mohammad Zargham)

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Comments (2)
oceanreef1212 wrote:
And Obama’s foreign policy experience was what when he was elected? Did he do a good job? If yes, then Obama should acknowledge it and move on. If no, well then talk about his handling of foreign policy. Seems like the writer of this article doesn’t want it both ways, but everyway and then reserves the right to pick and choose facts for one person and then allowing a free pass to the other. Eventually Mr. Obama needs to acknowledge his accomplishments in foreign policy, where one would expect any decent report to contain. Besides, he can offended all he wants about the Anglo-Saxon remark. Let Obama take that up with the person who said and move on. We are watching the Middle East spiralling into a powder keg ready to blow, and not one question about that? Really? Why bother calling yourself news and just hand an Obama 2012 placard on your front page and call it a day?

Jul 25, 2012 1:48am IST  --  Report as abuse
mikep4u1 wrote:
Britain hasn’t been anglo saxon for over a thousand years since 1066 when the french became the ruling elite, but then why would I expect an american politician’s advisor to know this? He neglects to recognise that Britain and the US (espicially the south) share a special relationship with regard to africa. This only underlines the lack of any global and historical perspectives to the republican policy (let alone the historical educational of the “advisors”). I you do not know history your a doomed to repeat etc….

Jul 26, 2012 3:28pm IST  --  Report as abuse
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