A senior aide to US President Barack Obama has been forced to issue an apology following a row over the whereabouts of a bust of Winston Churchill, which used to be displayed in the Oval Office of the White House.
At the start of George W Bush's presidency, Tony Blair lent him a bust of Britain's wartime prime minister. However after Obama became president in 2009 it was removed.
The tale is often cited as proof that Obama does not value the relationship between the US and the UK, and the controversy was re-ignited last week when Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney botched his visit to London.
Romney had hoped to show the British that he would be a better friend than the Democratic president, but his attempt to make nice with British leaders was undermined by his criticism of the London Olympic Games.
Reacting to the mocking of Romney on on Friday, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer reminded his readers that Obama “started his presidency by returning to the British Embassy the bust of Winston Churchill that had graced the Oval Office".
Keen to capitalise on the Republican candidate's "Romneyshambles" visit to Britain, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said the accusation was "patently false".
In a blog post on the White House website published on the 17 July he wrote: "This is 100% false. The bust still in the White House. In the Residence. Outside the Treaty Room."
That's that then. Urban legend corrected. Only, not. In a statement issued hours late the British Embassy said: "The bust now resides in the British ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C."
ABC News' Jake Tapper got to the bottom of the confusion.
"Here's the bottom line," he wrote on Twitter. "Like a plot twist in a sitcom, IT TURNS OUT THERE ARE TWO CHURCHILL BUSTS!!!!!"
In the 1960s during the presidency of Lydon B Johnson, a bust of Churchill had been presented to the White House, as recorded by Johnson's wife Lady Bird.
This original bust which now resides in the White House residence, seen above being examined by David Cameron and Obama in July 2010, was the one being refereed to by Pfeiffer.
The second bust, the one lent to president Bush by Blair now sits in the British embassy in the American capital.
Having established the location of the two Winstons, Krauthammer said an apology from the White House "would be nice". And last night one was given.
Pfeiffer wrote on his blog: "I take your criticism seriously and you are correct that you are owed an apology. There was clearly an internal confusion about the two busts and there was no intention to deceive.
"I clearly overshot the runway in my post.
"The point I was trying to make – under the belief that the Bust in the residence was the one previously in the Oval Office-- was that this oft repeated talking point about the bust being a symbol of President Obama’s failure to appreciate the special relationship is false.
"The bust that was returned was returned as a matter of course with all the other artwork that had been loaned to President Bush for display in his Oval Office and not something that President Obama or his Administration chose to do.
"I still think this is an important point and one I wish I had communicated better.
He added: "A better understanding of the facts on my part and a couple of deep breaths at the outset would have prevented this situation."
Controversy over. Although as our own White House Correspondent Sam Stein noted: