TIME Scott Walker

British Leader to Scott Walker: I Never Dissed Obama

David Cameron disputes an assertion by the Republican presidential hopeful that he spoke ill of President Obama

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says British Prime Minister David Cameron confided in him that he was concerned about the direction of American leadership. But there’s a problem with the Republican’s tidy critique of President Barack Obama: Cameron doesn’t remember it that way.

Walker, who has taken several trips overseas in recent months to study up on foreign policy in preparation for an all-but-certain presidential bid, told a roomful of Republican donors Friday that world leaders, including Cameron, are worried about the U.S. stepping back in the world. “The Prime Minister did not say that and does not think that,” a Downing Street spokesperson told TIME.

“I heard that from David Cameron back in February earlier when we were over at 10 Downing,” Walker said. “I heard it from other leaders around the world. They’re looking around realizing this lead from behind mentality just doesn’t work. It’s just not working.”

His comments came at the E2 Summit hosted by former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in Deer Valley, Utah, where Walker was auditioning for support from some of the Republican Party’s deep-pocketed donors.

Walker and Cameron met Feb. 10 while Walker was traveling on a trade mission for his state. The trip was overshadowed in the U.S. by news coverage of Walker dodging a question on evolution.

Walker’s political office deferred comment to his official office, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

-With reporting by Conal Urquhart / London.

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