Representatives of the Obama administration expressed incredulity toward questions about whether the U.S. still enjoys a "special relationship" with the United Kingdom, while declining to underscore an exceptional relationship between the two countries.

"I continue to be mystified" about the change in references to the UK, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a Saturday morning conference call previewing the G-20 summit in London next week.

Some media outlets and critics have taken note of the administration's reluctance to speak of an elevated relationship with the UK unlike its predecessors in the Bush administration had done.

"The President had very productive video conferences this week and phone calls with Chancellor Merkel, with Prime Minister Brown, and with President Sarkozy, to work on many of the issues we're talking about, and I saw no evidence of any such back-and-forth or rift or anything," Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonoughDenis McDonoughObama: Bannon, Breitbart shifted media narrative in 'powerful direction' DNC chairman to teach at Brown University Trump mocked Obama for three chiefs of staff in three years MORE added. "In fact, I think...there's robust agreement and coordination that really has not been seen, near as I can tell, in any similar such summit in three decades."

"And so the bottom line is that I think the President looks very much forward to going to London," McDonough added, pointing to the countries' work together coordinating strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. "He has great affinity for that city, for the people there, and great appreciation for the historic relationship that we maintain."