Romney, Obama aides dispute election-night call

Washington (CNN)Mitt Romney's personal aide is disputing a claim by one of President Barack Obama's top campaign strategists that Romney implied during his concession call that Obama won the 2012 election just because he turned out the black vote.

The claim, stemming from the election-night phone conversation between the two candidates, surfaced in a new book by David Axelrod, Obama's political adviser and message guru.
Obama was "unsmiling during the call, and slightly irritated when it was over," Axelrod writes, according to the New York Daily News, which obtained an advance copy.
"'You really did a great job of getting the vote out in places like Cleveland and Milwaukee,' in other words, black people,'" Obama said, paraphrasing Romney. "That's what he thinks this was all about."
    Obama's 2012 campaign manager, Jim Messina, backed up Axelrod's story in a tweet Thursday.
    But the man who spent each day of the campaign in close proximity to Romney says that's all false -- and "there was absolutely nothing mentioned on turnout or Cleveland or Milwaukee."
    Romney aide Garrett Jackson told CNN that he called Obama aide Marvin Nicholson on the night of the election, and then handed the phone to Romney -- while both Romney's son Tagg and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan were in the room.
    The call, Jackson said, lasted about one minute.
    "I want to congratulate you on a hard-fought victory," Jackson recalled Romney saying.
    "I know there are hard decisions ahead and I hope you're willing to make the hard decisions," Romney said, according to Jackson. "And I'm here to help. Just know that Ann and I are going to pray for you."
    Jackson said he has no idea where Axelrod got the idea that the two had discussed turnout.
    "That's absurd to me that Axelrod would even come up with that," he said.
      On Thursday, Romney's son, Tagg, also weighed in.
      "Garrett, Congressmen Ryan and I were all in the room when he made the call. I really don't remember him saying anything about turnout in Cleveland or Milwaukee or anywhere else," Tagg Romney said. "I'm also pretty sure my dad wouldn't have had any idea what turnout was in a specific area by then."