Referring to Cameron’s highly flattering toast to Obama during a banquet given in the prime minister’s honour when he visited Washington in March, a senior aide said: “You don’t take sides in an election year”.
The aide, who requested anonymity, said Romney and his wife, Ann, would attend the “first day of activities” of the 2012 Games, which open in July. Romney would do “one or two other things” while in London. A meeting with Cameron was not ruled out, but that was “up in the air”, the aide said.
Doubts about a possible Downing Street meeting appear to stem in part from surprise and dismay felt in the Romney camp about what it saw as Cameron’s obsequious behaviour at the banquet on 14 March.
Cameron’s performance smacked of a “lack of experience” and was seen as “not very skilful”, the aide said.
Romney advisers responsible for European policy were said to have been so alarmed that their initial reaction was to complain Cameron had “infringed” the special relationship between the US and Britain.
“It’s curious. What Cameron did is ironic, seeing that a few days later Obama said he was neutral on the Falklands. Cameron was taken for a ride by Obama,” the aide said.
He said he had been telephoned the following day by an embarrassed British contact who told him: “‘I don’t want to talk about it [Cameron’s toast]. I’m just sorry it happened.'”
Criticism from Romney’s camp is unusual. It prides itself on being extremely disciplined, careful in its dealings with the press, and averse to controversy.
Andrea Saul, spokeswoman for the Romney campaign, denied there was any tension with Downing Street. She said on Wednesday: “The statements and facts reported in the Guardian story concerning the campaign’s plans and thinking are wholly inaccurate and demonstrate that whoever conveyed them has no familiarity with the campaign’s policies or decision making.”