Australia's foreign ministry disputes reporting of Romney meeting

But the pool report of the event does not show Romney specifically characterizing the conversation as a warning. 

"I met today with the foreign minister of Australia. He said something, and I said, 'Can I quote you?' and he said yes. He said, 'America is just one budget deal away from ending all talk of America being in decline,'" Romney told attendees at a Bay Area fundraiser. 

"What he meant by that is that if we get serious about taking steps to make sure that America will finally get to a balanced budget, and if we make sure these unfunded liabilities don't crush us, if we show the world that we come together to get that job done, if we have real leadership that will get Congress to work together and actually reach that conclusion, that agreement, than the world will recognize America's going to come roaring back. And this idea of America in decline, it was interesting he said that, he led the talk of America being in decline. See that's not talk we hear about here as much as they're hearing there. And if they're thinking about investing in America, entrepreneurs putting their future in America, if they think America's in decline, they're not gonna do it," said Romney.

The incident comes days before Romney is set for an international tour that will include stops in Europe and Israel, and underscores some of the difficulties facing a presidential hopeful meeting with foreign leaders wary of publicly offending the incumbent administration. 

This post was updated at 8:37 a.m.