Mitt Romney disavowed comments attributed to an unnamed adviser who, according to Britain's Daily Telegraph, said that President Obama doesn't "fully appreciate," as Romney does, the "Anglo-Saxon heritage" and "special relationship" that the U.S. and the United Kingdom share. "I don't agree with whoever that adviser is," Romney said in an interview with NBC News on Wednesday, the first day of a six-day foreign trip. Still, the comment was perceived as racist. The Obama campaign pounced, with an aide to Obama calling the remark "stunningly offensive," and Vice President Joe Biden accusing the Romney campaign of "playing politics with international diplomacy." A Romney spokesman said that Biden was diminishing the presidency and making Obama look desperate by using "an anonymous and false quote from a foreign newspaper to prop up their flailing campaign." Will the Anglo-Saxon "kerfuffle" wind up hurting Romney or Obama?
Romney can't dodge blame for this outrageous remark: Mitt can try to distance himself from the "Anglo-Saxon" comment all he wants, says Eleanor Clift at The Daily Beast, but it's no secret that he and his surrogates have been trying to paint Obama as un-American for weeks. Even though Romney promised not to attack Obama during this trip, "his advisers apparently felt free" to get in a jab "that could be interpreted as carrying a racial tinge." This "low blow" doesn't reflect well on Romney.
"Mitt Romney denies Anglo-Saxon claim, but his camp has been trying to label Obama un-American"
No. It's the Obama campaign that's discrediting itself: This "is a stupid controversy," says Jonah Goldberg at National Review. "If the aide said it — I love the Telegraph, and I love the Brits, but sometimes British papers are a little loosey-goosey with quotes — my hunch" is that it was just a poor choice of words in what was supposed to be an attempt to make nice with Romney's British hosts. The Obama campaign is only making itself look bad by, predictably, trying to "turn it racial."
"Re: On Romney, Obama, and Anglo-Saxons"
If nothing else, this overshadows Romney's overseas debut: "This isn't what Mitt Romney wanted on his three-stop, foreign policy photo op," says Taylor Marsh at her blog. Romney's six-day trip was supposed to let him show some gravitas on the world stage to prove he'd make a good commander-in-chief. Instead, he's greeted by negative headlines about an "obscenely tone deaf" comment, which feeds the impression that he "can't navigate in international waters without a map."
"Team Romney's bizarre 'Anglo-Saxon' remark"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- 9 Harvard dropouts who became fabulously successful
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- What is Molly? Everything you need to know about the party drug
- The dangers of our passionless American life
- How China sparked an Asian frenzy for killer submarines
- The real reason conservatives should be outraged that police killed a white youth
- The essential techniques that every home cook should know
Subscribe to the Week