Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign made the leap from quiet xenophobia to full-blown racial politics today, when an unnamed foreign policy adviser to his campaign told The Daily Telegraph that Romney understands diplomacy with Britain better than President Obama does, because he is “part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage.”
John Swaine reports:
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.”
So Republicans have gone from thinking that President Obama is not black enough to thinking that he is too black to “fully appreciate” our relationship with Britain. Lovely.
Almost as soon as the controversial comments were published, the hunt for their source began. Speculation has focused on Nile Gardiner, who serves as co-chair of Romney’s European foreign policy team. Gardiner — who has ties to the cultish Unification Church, which does not exactly have a sterling record on race issues — makes sense as a potential source because he blogs for the Telegraph, and has a history of using similar language in his writings.
Gardiner denies these allegations, however, telling The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent that he was contacted by Swaine, but referred the call to Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul.
The Romney campaign also denies any responsibility for the comment. Spokesperson Amanda Hennenberg said in a statement that “It’s not true,” and “If anyone said that, they weren’t reflecting the views of Governor Romney or anyone inside the campaign.”
Additionally, Romney spokesperson Ryan Williams accused the Obama campaign of using “a false quote from a foreign newspaper to prop up their flailing campaign.”