Politico on Thursday suspended their veteran White House correspondent after several conservative websites complained that he had observed that presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appeared to be more comfortable when he's around white people.
During a Thursday discussion with MSNBC's Martin Bashir about why Romney was trailing President Barack Obama among minorities, Politico's Joe Williams, who is black, noted that the candidate was most relaxed and unscripted on Fox & Friends where the people were white like him.
"It’s very interesting that he does so many appearances on Fox & Friends," Williams pointed out. "And it’s unscripted. It’s the only time they let Mitt off the leash, so to speak."
He continued: "But it also points out a larger problem he’s got to solve if he wants to be successful come this fall: Romney is very, very comfortable, it seems, with people who are like him. That’s one of the reasons why he seems so stiff and awkward in some town hall settings, why he can’t relate to people other than that."
"But when he comes on Fox & Friends, they’re like him. They’re white folks who are very much relaxed in their own company."
In a report on their website on Friday, Politico pointed to conservative websites Washington Free Beacon and Breitbart.com for flagging the remarks on MSNBC and tweets where Williams allegedly mocked Romney's wealth.
"Regrettably, an unacceptable number of Joe Williams's public statements on cable and Twitter have called into question his commitment to this responsibility," founders John Harris and Jim VandeHei wrote in a memo to Politico staff. "His comment about Governor Romney earlier today on MSNBC fell short of our standards for fairness and judgment in an especially unfortunate way."
"This appearance came in the context of other remarks on Twitter that, cumulatively, require us to make clear that our standards are serious, and so are the consequences for disregarding them. This is true for all POLITICO journalists, including an experienced and well-respected voice like Joe Williams."
"POLITICO journalists have a clear and inflexible responsibility to cover politics fairly and free of partisan bias," they added.
According to The New York Times, Romney has appeared on Fox & Friends 21 times in the last year alone.