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Romney Accused of Vicious Hair-Cutting

The day after President Obama expressed his personal support for gay marriage, a report has surfaced of his presumptive general election opponent engaging in a mean, anti-gay “prank” back in 1965.

WaPo (“Mitt Romney’s prep school classmates recall pranks, but also troubling incidents“):

Mitt Romney returned from a three-week spring break in 1965 to resume his studies as a high school senior at the prestigious Cranbrook School. Back on the handsome campus, studded with Tudor brick buildings and manicured fields, he spotted something he thought did not belong at a school where the boys wore ties and carried briefcases. John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.

“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenaged son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.

A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.

My first instinct was a quip about this proving that Romney was indeed  ”severely conservative.” But those accusing him of this act see it as far more than a “prank.”

The incident was recalled similarly by five students, who gave their accounts independently of one another. Four of them — Friedemann, now a dentist; Phillip Maxwell, a lawyer; Thomas Buford, a retired prosecutor; and David Seed, a retired principal — spoke on the record. Another former student who witnessed the incident asked not to be named. The men have differing political affiliations, although they mostly lean Democratic. Buford volunteered for Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008. Seed, a registered independent, has served as a Republican county chairman in Michigan. All of them said that politics in no way colored their recollections.

“It happened very quickly, and to this day it troubles me,” said Buford, the school’s wrestling champion, who said he joined Romney in restraining Lauber. Buford subsequently apologized to Lauber, who was “terrified,” he said. “What a senseless, stupid, idiotic thing to do.”

“It was a hack job,” recalled Maxwell, a childhood friend of Romney who was in the dorm room when the incident occurred. “It was vicious.”

“He was just easy pickins,” said Friedemann, then the student prefect, or student authority leader of Stevens Hall, expressing remorse about his failure to stop it.

It should be noted that the Romney campaign denies the incident–and seems to understand that it won’t be seen as youthful hi-jinks.

“Anyone who knows Mitt Romney knows that he doesn’t have a mean-spirited bone in his body,” Andrea Saul said in a statement. “The stories of fifty years ago seem exaggerated and off base and Governor Romney has no memory of participating in these incidents.”

Campaign officials denied a request for an interview with Romney. They also declined to comment further about his years at Cranbrook.

I’m a bit troubled by this, in the same way I was when the Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry arose. On the one hand, we have some allegations from contemporaries–willing to go on record in a major newspaper–that undermines a critical part of the appeal of a major presidential contender. On the other, the charges are several decades old and strangely did not come to light earlier despite both men having been in the national spotlight a very long time. That really, really smells.

Assuming for the sake of argument that the characterizations of Romney’s accusers are an accurate reflection of events, we would be safe in figuring that Romney was at as least occasionally a mean prick the spring of his 18th birthday (he was born March 12, 1947). That his alleged target was an effeminate classmate hardly seems shocking; that attitude prevailed several decades beyond 1965. As Friedemann, his chief accuser, notes, he “waited to see what form of discipline would befall Romney at the famously strict institution. Nothing happened.”

And perhaps Charlie Spiering is right when he declares, “For men who have attended all boys schools, a hair cutting incident is remarkably tame.” It’s quite possible that some of his contemporaries felt guilty after the fact and that Romney hasn’t thought of it since, seeing it as a youthful prank consistent with the times.

At the same time, though, William Jacobson is too cute by more than half to dismiss it by chortling “I once participated in a group which gave someone a wedgie when I was at summer camp in the 1960s.  That’s why I’ll never run for President, my record is stained.” Teenage boys holding down a younger, weaker classmate who was crying and screaming is a far crueler act.

Still, as I observe any time we’re talking about incidents and accomplishments that allegedly took place during a middle-aged politician’s school days, we should largely discount it in light of more recent behavior. Indeed, as the story in question acknowledges, Romney was coming of age at Cranbrook–his first time outside the direct supervision of his parents–and he continued his transformation into his young adulthood.

In later years, after Romney went on a Mormon mission, married and raised five sons, he seemed a different person to some old classmates. “Mitt began to change as a person when he met Ann Davies. He gradually became a more serious person. She was part of the process of him maturing and becoming more of the person he is today,” said Jim Bailey, who was a classmate of Romney’s at Cranbrook and later at Harvard.

I’m reasonably confident that, regardless of whether he was mostly a jerk at 18, he’s a mostly a kind and decent fellow at 65. To the extent I have misgivings about his character, it’s with respect to the  steadfastness and courage of his convictions.

UPDATE: Romney has issued a tepid non-apology apology.

Mitt Romney is countering the notion that he bullied high school classmates and insists he didn’t know some were gay.

The Republican presidential candidate apologized Thursday to anyone he may have offended by what he said were “hijinks and pranks during high school.” His comments in a hastily arranged radio interview followed a Washington Post report Thursday that he had held down classmate John Lauber and cut off his bleached blond hair. The Post suggested Lauber was bullied because he was gay.

he newspaper also reported that Romney shouted “atta girl” at a different student.

Separately, Romney told Fox News that the people involved didn’t reveal they were gay until years later. Romney said he participated in many pranks and that some, in his words, “may have gone too far.”

This is just foolish. The accusation here isn’t of “hijinks” but of rather vicious bullying. And, if the kid was screaming and crying while it was happening, there isn’t any question as to whether his feelings were hurt.

This should be a one-day story. People get that 1965 was a long time ago–I’m 46 and wouldn’t be born for several months–and that people grow up.

If it’s partly wrong–whether through falsehood, exaggeration, or context–set the record straight. If it’s true, say so, apologize, and put it behind you.

UPDATE: Family of Alleged Romney Bullying Victim Denies Knowledge of Incident

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Mark says:

    “Further, as I observe any time we’re talking about incidents and accomplishments that allegedly took place during a middle-aged politician’s school days, we should largely discount it in comparison to more recent behavior.”

    While I don’t completely agree with this sentence, it’s very hard for me to just say, “ah, the foolishness of youth.” What was described in the article was a pretty despicable act. I would have a much easier time looking at it and accepting it as part of a growing process if Romney at any point since then acknowledged it, apologized for it and talked about his own personal failings at that time. But it appears he has no intention of doing so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  2. al-Ameda says:

    1965? Don’t get me wrong, I hope Romney fails, but really, how many of us are the same person today that we were when we were 18? That said, he does not seem to have a personality that exhibits or values empathy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

  3. Davebo says:

    That said, he does not seem to have a personality that exhibits or values empathy.

    He empathizes with lots of folks al-Ameda.

    Owners of sports franchises, large corporations, etc. You know, the typical disenfranchised groups.

    And no, I didn’t put the words in his mouth, he did.

    Semi-Snark aside, he was a kid, it was the early sixties. If this becomes an issue it will once again reflect the sad reality of our current political climate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  4. @al-Ameda:

    how many of us are the same person today that we were when we were 18?

    I’m not, but the faults of my 18 year old self don’t include ganging up and brutalizing smaller weaker people. Exactly how old do you have to be before you know that’s wrong?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 2

  5. I think you missed the most troubling aspect of the story: “Governor Romney has no memory of participating in these incidents.”

    This is (another?) example where Romney could get out front and do the right thing. It strikes me as so easy “it was 1965. we were kids. we certainly didn’t see hair cutting in the big picture. in context now I see it as a terrible thing. etc.”

    The most human thing about the other participants is their acknowledgement, remorse, apologies. That is so far, shockingly missing.

    (It may be a common political flaw, the ability to rewrite one’s personal history, but see John Edwards, it’s a bad path.)

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 2

  6. PJ says:

    Two questions (not directed to anyone in particular):
    1. How would you react if this happened to your son or daughter?
    2. How would you react if this was done by your son or daughter?

    Your response to those two questions would tell a lot about you.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  7. Franklin says:

    Calling this ‘despicable’ seems over-the-top to me. I’ve heard plenty of stories of siblings doing something similar to the described act. Yeah, he certainly should have been solidly disciplined (assuming the story is true), but this is far from the worst thing that’s happened to an effeminate male. And like al-Ameda said, it was a long time ago, done by someone who was straddling the line between child and adult.

    Oh, and Romney should fess up. Cover-ups bad, apologies good.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  8. he’s a mostly a kind and decent fellow at 65.

    Except he’s still metaphorically attacking the John Laubers of the world; all that’s change is he now uses political allies and the state to do the tackling and trimming for him so he doesn’t have to dirty his hands with it. Where was the “kind and decent fellow” when Rich Grennell needed to be defended? Where was the “kind and decent fellow” when an angry crowd of conservatives was booing Stephen Hill?

    Yes, people should not be permanantly blamed for the mistaked of youth. But that requires remorse and repentance on their part. When has Romney ever demonstrated a shred of either?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 5

  9. PJ says:

    “Anyone who knows Mitt Romney knows that he doesn’t have a mean-spirited bone in his body,” Andrea Saul said in a statement.

    One thing is sure, Romney doesn’t have spine.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

  10. michael reynolds says:

    This is a very balanced post from James, and I think John Personna above makes the relevant point: where is Romney’s ability to just tell the truth and say, “Man, I can’t believe what a douche I was back then.”

    None of us want to be judged by our teen-aged (or in my case early 20’s) self. I don’t even recognize the Michael Reynolds from 30-40 years ago, but I apologize for a whole long list of obnoxious, negligent, heartless and stupid things he/I did. You don’t get redemption without confession and contrition.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 1

  11. Hey Norm says:

    Anyone who has ever read a comment I have posted here knows I am not about to support someone as spineless as Romney.
    Having said that, I think this story is largley meaningless.
    The only thing it tells us is that Romney fits perfectly the stereotype of the bully actually being a coward inside.
    Really — that is about as suprising as Obama supporting same-sex marriage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  12. Rob in CT says:

    It’s an opportunity, I think, for him to show some humanity. His great weakness. He could sit down and do an interview and talk about… well, growing up, basically. I’m *sure* most of us have done things that, in hindsight, were bad. I know I have (note: not bullying, for that I was on the receiving end). I’ve learned from them. I still feel shame when I think of them. This is useful, as it helps remind me (if I need reminding) to be better.

    I understand it’s hard for a politician to manage to say something like that skillfully. But really, I think the vast majority of people would not only give Romney a pass for this but actually warm to him somewhat if he addressed it in such a manner. Most know that school is a nasty place, and in that nasty place kids can be, well, nasty. Most of them grow up and manage not to be monsters. Again, I say this as someone who was bullied (fairly mildly, in comparison to the horror stories you can find if you want).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  13. James says:

    @Franklin:

    Oh, and Romney should fess up. Cover-ups bad, apologies good.

    HULK AGREE.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  14. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Here’s the difference to me between this and the Swift Boat Liars:

    Each of these quoted men admitted that they participated (or observed and did nothing), and each of them is expressing some sort of remorse or moral understanding of the act. There’s a world of difference between “Sen. Kerry did something bad” and “I participated in something bad with Gov. Romney”.

    I’m more inclined to regard an old story with veracity when several sources not only state that it happened, but admit their own bad actions. And it actually gives Romney an opportunity to humanize himself by talking about a ‘prank gone awry’ (or whatever) and relating it to modern day bullying, and how he’s learned a lot since then. He seems to prefer to double down on denial, which seems like a misstep to me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  15. Romney has apologized:

    Mitt Romney apologized on Thursday morning for pranks he helped orchestrate in high school that he said “might have gone too far,” including an incident in which he pinned down a fellow student and cut his hair.

    The presumptive Republican presidential nominee was responding to an article published a few hours earlier by The Washington Post documenting the episode with first-hand accounts from Romney’s classmates.

    “Back in high school, I did some dumb things and if anybody was hurt by that or offended, obviously I apologize for that,” Romney said in a live radio interview with Fox News Channel personality Brian Kilmeade. Romney added: “I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school and some might have gone too far and for that, I apologize.”

    Romney’s campaign hastily scheduled the radio interview for the candidate to call in from Omaha, where he is holding a campaign event later Wednesday, to respond to The Post’s report.

    Now can we get back to things that actually matter?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 27

  16. PJ says:

    Mitt Romney offered a qualified apology for his behavior as a high school student, without specifically saying whether a report that he bullied a student thought by his classmates to be gay was accurate.

    “Back in high school I did some dumb things and if anybody was hurt by that or offended by that I apologize,” Romney told FOX radio host Brian Kilmeade Thursday. “If I did stupid things, I’m afraid I’ve got to say sorry for it.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  17. @Doug Mataconis:

    So he only thinks it “might” have gone to far? “If I did stupid things, I’m afraid I’ve got to say sorry for it.” So it’s one of those “if my actions offended…” non-apologies.

    Also, since he seems to remember it now, was he lying earlier when he said he didn’t? Or is it just that he, in fact, did this regularly and that he was such a bully he can’t remember specific incidents any more?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  18. pcbedamned says:

    @James:

    BAZINGA!!!!

    @PJ:

    1. I’d be raising some serious Cain….
    2. They would wish they had Never Heard of Cain….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  19. anjin-san says:

    I participated in some things as a teenager that make me cringe now, though we were more like 13/14 at the time. I am not inclined to hand someone out to dry for what they did as a kid. That being said, this sort of thing can hardly be described as “hijinks” or a prank. The people on the receiving end of this crap can be permanently damaged.

    Romney could have stepped up, owned his actions, and used this as a teaching moment. That’s what you hope for from a leader. Instead we get the most vanilla apology possible. Not surprising, considering the source.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  20. Davebo says:

    That is a classic non-apology in the vein of “I apologize if anyone was offended by me calling Obama a Black Panther”.

    But still, not a issue for me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  21. anjin-san says:

    Now can we get back to things that actually matter?

    I am pretty sure that character matters.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  22. Fausta says:

    Guys, please!

    I went to an all-girls’ school and some of the girls would do worse stuff than that.

    Man up!

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 29

  23. @Doug Mataconis:

    That was an OK apology. A C+ or B- effort. It will let him move on, with some baggage, but without alienating any anti-gay members of his base.

    It is obviously calculated, but not a bad calculation.

    Meta level, I wonder how many politicians start as bullies and then discover smoother skills?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  24. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Now can we get back to things that actually matter?

    This kind of thing does matter. We can’t vote for Romney on his principles since he has none, or on his positions, which he changes every hour on the hour. Which leaves character.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 1

  25. Gustopher says:

    What a miserable excuse for an apology.

    The incident 45 years ago tells us about who Romney was then — a Mormon frat boy wannabee, acting without thinking, and doing something hurtful and dumb. Ok, we all do stupid crap.

    The apology tells us about the man Romney is today — first he lied about not remembering it, then he gives a weaselly “if my weight upon another human being happened to be holding someone down while I cut their hair and it offended them, then I am sorry” apology.

    Character matters. The ability to own up to your own mistakes matters.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  26. mantis says:

    This obviously isn’t going to influence my vote, and I think that people absolutely have the capability to mature beyond their teenage attitudes and behaviors. I am however curious about Romney’s position on anti-bullying legislation.

    The best part here is seeing all the rightwingers freak out about this story being irrelevant and the very fact that it has come out evidence of “liberal media bias” (what else?). They actually do this with a straight face after months and years of claiming that President Obama has not been properly vetted, demanding every detail from his youth, obsessing over dog meat in Indonesia, grade school records, and girlfriends Obama had 30 years ago. Dumbasses.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  27. al-Ameda says:

    This incident also offers a clue as to how he could be so comfortable in his “job” as a predator capitalist – buying companies, closing plants, and laying off American workers.

    I think most people now see Romney for what he is – cold and corporate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  28. JKB says:

    Give the man a chance. “High school pranks” that make up bullying aren’t/weren’t always seen as bullying by the aggressor. Upon reflection, we may see a better response.

    Here, Big Bang Theory has the best revelation I’ve seen.

    Romney probably didn’t remember something done absentmindedly near 50 years ago. The receiver, no doubt does, as we see, so do others.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  29. cian says:

    1. How would you react if this happened to your son or daughter?
    2. How would you react if this was done by your son or daughter?

    PJ,

    From what I’ve read about Romney’s father, I think he would have been pretty disgusted with Mitt’s behaviour as a teenager. Not to happy with him as an adult either is my guess.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  30. LaMont says:

    Totally agree with michael reynolds,

    If Romney gave us anything worth talking about other than “Obama has failed America”, and “What ever Obama did – I wouldn’t do that”, this subject wouldn’t likely be much of a story.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  31. jukeboxgrad says:

    GWB said that fraternity initiation with a hot branding iron was no big deal because it was “only a cigarette burn.” He went on to order torture as president. We don’t need another frat boy bully in the White House. (Hat tip to a commenter at WP.)

    This story tells us what we already know via the Seamus story: Mitt has no empathy.

    And in both instances, he refuses to take responsibility. In the Seamus story, he refuses to admit that what he did was wrong. And in this story, he refuses to acknowledge what he actually did.

    James:

    the Romney campaign denies the incident

    Not exactly. They said what he said: “I don’t remember that incident.”

    Doug:

    Romney has apologized

    Not exactly. The first step in a real apology is to acknowledge what you did. By saying “I don’t remember” he’s refusing to acknowledge what he did.

    What I find significant is not just the past behavior, but the current behavior. In both instances, he has an opportunity to truly take responsibility for making a mistake, and he refuses to do so. Refusing to take responsibility for mistakes is a serious character flaw, and not an acceptable trait for anyone in a position of power.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  32. Hey Norm says:

    Ann Romney:

    “…I still look at him as the boy that I met in high school when he was playing all the jokes and really just being crazy, pretty crazy…and so there’s a wild and crazy man inside of there just waiting to come out! “

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  33. Hey Norm says:

    “…Campaign officials denied a request for an interview with Romney…”

    …who promptly ran to the safe confines of Fox News and hard-hitting stenographer Brian Kilmeade to issue a non-apology-apology.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  34. jukeboxgrad says:

    This thread (and also the WP article) does not contain the word that properly describes what he did: assault.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  35. jukeboxgrad says:

    “He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!”

    Romney works hard at hiding who he is, but those words reveal a lot. And a commenter at Washington Examiner does a nice job of showing how Mitt is a perfect match for his fans:

    If the kid was gay and he was obviously trying to rub it in everyone’s face then MItt did the right thing to cut his hair and let him know how to act.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  36. Moosebreath says:

    The Roman playwrite Ennius wrote, “Every man likes to remember youthful indiscretions; no man likes to be reminded of them.” (well, he wrote it in Latin, but…)

    When Romney actually says he did it, and was an idiot for doing so (as opposed to his lack of memory in his statement), I would give him a pass.

    On the other hand, mantis is exactly right — after a few weeks of Obama eating dog meat when he was a child, Romney has zero cause to whine about this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  37. WR says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “Now can we get back to things that actually matter? ”

    Yes, let’s have more posts on Elizabeth Warren’s Indian heritage.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  38. mantis says:

    A roundup of responses (no links, as they don’t deserve them and the spam filter will bury the comment if I include them)

    Pajamas Media: Washington Post Releases All Of Obama’s Shocking College Transcripts
    “Barry Obama was a street punk who snorted cocaine.”

    Hot Air: Cutting-edge reporting from WaPo: Let’s take an in-depth look at … Romney’s cruel high-school pranks
    “Despite demonstrating zero curiosity over Barack Obama’s college transcripts…”

    National Review: New Bright Shiny Object Enters Presidential Campaign Debate
    “After all, this event occurred roughly two to four years before Barack Obama ate a dog, and about a decade before young Barack Obama used cocaine. If those events of youth are considered irrelevant to evaluating the presidential choice before Americans, it’s unclear why a scene out of Dead Poets Society should warrant such extensive coverage from the Post.”

    William Jacobson: Your mainstream media at work – Romney teased someone in high school in 1965
    “Now about that Obama trip to Pakistan”

    Erick Erickson: Communists, Cop-Killers, and Cocaine: Why the Washington Post Focuses on Romney Instead
    “The Washington Post can’t be bothered to worry about Barack Obama’s college years, college transcripts, communist friends, cocaine use, or cop-killing plotters in whose living room he first launched his major political career, but they can get in the really way back machine to 1965 and Mitt Romney’s high school years.”

    Ann Althouse: The day after Obama evolved, WaPo rolls out a Romney-bullied-a-gay-guy story.
    This supposedly happened in high school in 1965:
    “Obama bullied a black girl”

    Jim Hoft: Mitt Romney Picked on a Kid in High School – Obama Voted to Smother the Life Out of Live Babies
    “The Washington Post, a liberal rag that never investigated anything on the radical communist-mentored youth of Barack Obama,”

    They continue to pretend that stories from Obama’s past that they heard about in the media were never covered by the media, demand that these stories, along with a bunch they just invented, be covered by the media nonstop, and complain if anyone reports anything from Romney’s or any other Republican’s past. Dumbasses.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 1

  39. Ian says:

    While I agree that incidents from your youth should be forgiven, it’s significant to me because it illustrates the man who Romney grew up to be. Someone who comforts the comfortable and afflicts the afflicted. Could you imagine living as a gay boy in 1960’s Utah?

    So what if Obama read socialist authors in school? He’s governed center left. So what if W was a drunk and drug addict from 18 to 40? He quit. But this incident illustrates Romney’s persona to a T. He’s still that kid: a bully who holds down the helpless and tries to humiliate them in the most base manner imaginable for the benefit of his country club buddies. That’s why this matters.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  40. mantis says:

    Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has decided to go another way now. Anti-gay bullying is the same as not letting other kids cut in line:

    I eagerly await the next set of stories about how in middle school Romney refused to give cuts in line to kids from low-income families, or how he shamelessly violated the “exies-no-erasies” rule in elementary school with his female classmates.

    And then immediately goes for another angle. Romney was just enforcing dress code!

    One e-mailer suggested that the hairstyle might have been the focus of the prank, not perceived orientation. Cranbrook would likely have had a fairly strict set of rules on personal appearance.

    Sometimes I wish they would just be honest. Don’t twist yourself in knots; go ahead and say it Ed. You think the fag probably deserved it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  41. Tillman says:

    Well, at least we have proof-positive that Romney isn’t a sociopath. A sociopath could’ve deflected this better. Honestly, Romney just doesn’t care to make much effort, I imagine.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. Nick says:

    You compare a conspiracy to dishonor the combat service of a veteran with a news story about Romney being a bully as a teenager?

    As a veteran I find that offensive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  43. rodney dill says:

    Could you imagine living as a gay boy in 1960′s Utah?

    I imagine if he’d been living in Utah, he and Romney would never have crossed paths.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  44. Tillman says:

    On the other, the charges are several decades old and strangely did not come to light earlier despite both men having been in the national spotlight a very long time. That really, really smells.

    Romney didn’t win the nomination last time.

    Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if the people talking about this now really believed the media hype around the various anti-Romneys for one reason or another.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  45. Anon says:

    It’s definitely not Romney’s actions back then that matter. Rather, it’s his response now, as an adult. So far, it’s been lacking.

    Also, it’s not the hair-cutting itself that matters most, but rather how it was done. Imagine walking along minding your own business and having a bunch of guys rush you while holding a sharp object. I’m sure that would have been upsetting. (Note that if it had been in Florida, the victim probably would have been fully justified in pulling out a handgun and shooting them all dead.) I don’t believe that Romney was a bully, but rather probably was just caught up in something that seemed like just good fun at the time.

    Most of us (myself included) have done things in our youth that we now recognize were wrong. How we react reflects on who we are now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  46. Nikki says:

    Completely OT:

    At the same time, though, William Jacobson is too cute by more than half to dismiss it by chortling “I once participated in a group which gave someone a wedgie when I was at summer camp in the 1960s. That’s why I’ll never run for President, my record is stained.”

    Jacobson knows he was the kid who got the wedgie.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  47. Ian says:

    @ Rodney Dill

    You’re right. My bad entirely. I do believe that my larger point, that Romney is still that heartless bully who lives to humiliate those he sees as “lower” than him, still stands. However yes, the school was in Michigan, not Utah. Romney would likely have found an entirely different set of people to humiliate had he gone to school there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  48. By way of comparison:

    http://articles.latimes.com/2005/jan/20/opinion/oe-davis20

    On this occasion, however, someone we all believed to be gay walked by, although the word we used in those days was “queer.” Someone, I’m sorry to say, snidely used that word as he walked by.

    George [W. Bush] heard it and, most uncharacteristically, snapped: “Shut up.” Then he said, in words I can remember almost verbatim: “Why don’t you try walking in his shoes for a while and see how it feels before you make a comment like that?”

    Remember, this was the 1960s — pre-Stonewall, before gay rights became a cause many of us (especially male college students) had thought much about. I remember thinking, “This guy is much deeper than I realized.”

    So Romney doesn’t even live up to the standards of empathy and decency of Bush ’43.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  49. John D'Geek says:

    This whole thread of comments is disturbing. You find a haircut “disgusting”? Just be damn glad you didn’t have my childhood then …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  50. PJ says:

    The Romney campaign has approached one of Mitt Romney’s closest high school friends and asked him to give “supporting remarks” about Romney after a Washington Post story detailed a bullying incident from Romney’s time at the Cranbrook School, reports ABC News.

    Good of Romney to contact his old high school friends so that they can remind him about what he did!

    ;)

    Or maybe he’s looking for people who will let us all know that John Lauber deserved it?

    Romney should stop digging and fess up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  51. Rob in CT says:

    @John D’Geek:

    You classify this as “a haircut?” Disturbing.

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Setting aside his faults, that right there was fine work by Bush the Younger. Cool story.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  52. Hey Norm says:

    It appears Romney is contacting friends from Cranbrook to counter the WaPo story.
    The link above to “The Big Bang Theory” becomes even more relevant…Bully’s lack enough self-awareness to realize they are bullys.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=9dKsnU4JlT0#t=66s

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  53. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @John D’Geek: You say tomato, I say assault and battery.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  54. PJ says:

    The classmates has answered Romney’s call for help:

    An unnamed former classmate and old friend of Mitt Romney described the presidential candidate’s high school behavior as “evil” and “like Lord of the Flies.” A lot of former Cranbrook classmates have “really negative memories” of Romney, the source told ABC News.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  55. Jenos Chinos says:

    So the girlymen libs are uncomfortable with the presence of alpha males such as “Big Mitt” Romney, the demigod Jim Treacher, and myself.

    I guess you guys were too busy playing with dolls to know about something as natural as boyish high spirits and pranks. You probably want to ban football too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

  56. Moderate Mom says:

    I hope he is sorry, and can now recognize it for the bullying it was. Although I never bullied anyone in middle school (when girls are at their most vicious), I did see people being bullied and never spoke up. For that, I am ashamed.

    One thing that stands out in the story, to me, is the use of an exact quote of Romney’s words. Really? After over 45 years, someone can remember exactly what Romney said? I have trouble believing that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  57. Wyatt Earp says:

    Well, it could have been worse; Romney could have bullied a girl.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 13

  58. raoul says:

    Let’s be clear here – Romney engaged in a vicious felonious battery that today would also be considered a hate crime. Many people committed crimes in the sixties who are still in jail or don’t have the full civil rights restored- should we also forget those too? If this has been a black child assaulting Romney what one thinks would have happened? To this day I recoil when I see the bullies from my high school and would not trust them on anything. For some reason I cannot imagine our President having engaged in such nefarious conduct. Once a bully, always a bully.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  59. mike says:

    James: “he’s a mostly a kind and decent fellow at 65″

    Mitt: “I like being able to fire people.”

    Ok, then.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  60. PJ says:

    @James Joyner:

    he’s a mostly a kind and decent fellow at 65.

    Any good examples of it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  61. anjin-san says:

    Mitt Romney clashed with a state commission tasked with helping LGBT youth at risk for bullying and suicide throughout his term as Massachusetts governor over funding and its participation in a pride parade. He eventually abolished the group altogether.

    “We remember well what Romney tried to do as governor of Massachusetts and we now we have more info on some of his own attitudes that may have led to his policy actions,” Eliza Byard, executive director of LGBT anti-bullying

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/05/romney-threatened-lgbt-anti-bully-commission-as-governor.php?ref=fpa

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  62. Alanmt says:

    This was not hijinks. This was not a prank, played on a friend. It was a bullying, abusive, criminal assault on someone Mitt Romney did not like and did not approve of by a mob Mitt Romney put together. This type of experience is not representative of the casual cruelty marked by teen immaturity, and should not be dismissed as such. It was on the extreme edges of such cruelty and went without punishment. The anti-gay animus was representative of the times, however, but that does not excuse the assault, which clearly scared the youth and, if reports of his subsequent life are to be believed, scarred him as well.

    Nevertheless, having said all of that, it need not have hurt Mr. Romney today. It presented him with an opportunity to show his quality. Unfortunately for him, he did. He ought to have acknowledged the act, acknowledged its wrongness, and acknowledged his shame while referencing his youth and the social atmosphere of the times, and then used it as a learning story to discuss, in a Presidential manner, how he learned and grew from it, and how the problem of bullying can be addressed. Instead, he refused to be interviewed, lied about remembering it, offered a qualified and weak generic apology while mischaracterizing the nature and reprehensibility of the conduct, and began to hunt up some long-neglected friends to talk about how great he used to be.

    Doug, this matters.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  63. Hey Norm says:

    This is hilarious…what I assumed was a single news cycle story…is exploding…largely with the help of Romney himself.
    If this keeps up it’s going to be a long 6 months for Willard until the election.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  64. the Q says:

    “Refusing to take responsibility for mistakes is a serious character flaw”…which is the hallmark of the baby boom generation.

    Its not the crime, its getting caught….thats been the way ever since Vietnam and the weaseling out of service by going to Oxford or the Alabama National guard.

    Its “I didn’t have sex with that women” to “Mission Accomplished” to not prosecuting any Wall street officials, not because Eric Holder is a pimp from the law firm which represents most of these scoundrels, but because “the statue of limitations has passed and its hard to figure out just what laws they viiolated”.

    Williard is just doing what most boomers are great at, viz.avoiding the responsibility of their own actions.

    Clinton signing away the Glass Steagall Act, while laughing with Phil Gramm at the ceremony, knowing he just made his Treasury Secretary a mint.

    GWB, a complete moron, pretending to be a leader. Obama, a conservative corporate democrat, blaming the mess he inherited for the tepid recovery instead of his complete lack of bold initiative and his allegiance to Wall street donors.

    The list is endless and permeates both sides of the aisle.

    The common theme is the boomer’s indulgent selfish hedonism which allows little time for rumination of one’s sins and instead seeks to justify it by bringing in the juvenile argument that “everybody does it.”

    The one crime erases another defense. It comes with the boomer aversion to admit guilt as manifested in the “if my behavior offended anybody” non apologies.

    Really Mitt is symptomatic of the whole boomer generation which basked in their hippy counter culture myth all the while reducing their tax rates to almost nothing, destroying the middle class, wiping out the 4th amendment, raising the Defense budget to obscene levels never before seen in “peace time”, but then patting themselves on the back for their ability to make the great leap of giving a trivial % of the population the right to “marry”.

    In short, Mitt holding down the less fortunate and then forgetting about it is symbolic of the perfidy of the boomers who in their corrupt, sellout of any values, prefer to forget their own history.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  65. Jenos Idanian says:

    At 18, Mitt Romney did this.

    Barack Obama was using pot and cocaine “in high school and college” — let’s say 15-22ish.

    William Ayers was 25 when he was involved in the Weather Underground’s series of bombings and planned bombings that intended to kill a lot of people, but fortunately mainly killed themselves. (The most heinous was the intended target of the bomb that killed three of the terrorists — a Dance for Non-Commissioned Officers in the Army, targeting enlisted personnel and their (civilian, female) dates.

    Barack Obama was 33 when he had his political “coming out” party at Ayers’ home.

    Barack Obama was 43 or 44 when he bought his first home, with the help of corrupt political fixer Tony Rezko.

    So far, liberals have played the “Romney mistreated a dog” and had it blow up on them when folks realized Obama ate a dog. And the “Romney’s ancestors were polygamists” has blown up on them when folks realized Obama’s father was a polygamist.

    Wanna keep playing, folks?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 15

  66. the Q says:

    Jenos’ post equating the sins of the pot smoking Obama with the juvenile foolishness of Mtt, the perfect example of what I wrote above “The one crime erases another defense.’

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  67. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Wanna keep playing, folks?

    Yes, please. I love watching fools keep digging.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  68. Hey Norm says:

    Ayers and Rezko and drugs and dogs…oh my!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  69. Jenos Idanian says:

    @the Q: Jenos’ post equating the sins of the pot smoking, cocaine-snorting Obama…

    Fixed that for ya.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  70. Buzz Buzz says:

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/05/romney-friend-stu-white-says-campaign-wants-him-to-counter-prank-accusations

    While the Post reports White as having “long been bothered” by the haircutting incident,” he told ABC News he was not present for the prank, in which Romney is said to have forcefully cut a student’s long hair and was not aware of it until this year when he was contacted by the Washington Post.

    Dan Rather and the forged TANG documents, redux. Whoops!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  71. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Barack Obama was using pot and cocaine “in high school and college” — let’s say 15-22ish.

    Yes, he talked about it in his book, and the Washington Post (libruls!!!11!) brought it up in 2007. He was elected anyway. All of our most recent presidents have used drugs. So have most Americans.

    Barack Obama was 33 when he had his political “coming out” party at Ayers’ home.

    State Senator Alice Palmer asked Ayers to host a “meet-the-candidate” coffee at his house for Obama, whom she endorsed in the primary to succeed her. Obama and Ayers didn’t even know each other at the time, and Ayers by then had worked in education for many years in Chicago.

    Barack Obama was 43 or 44 when he bought his first home, with the help of corrupt political fixer Tony Rezko.

    Also not true. Obama bought a house, not his first, by himself. The Rezkos purchased the adjacent lot at the same time from the same seller (who sold the property as two lots). A year later, the Obamas bought a ten foot strip of land from the Rezko’s lot. Rezko turned out to be a crook. The end.

    So far, liberals have played the “Romney mistreated a dog” and had it blow up on them when folks realized Obama ate a dog.

    Obama was given something he thought was dog meat as a child in a country where people eat dog meat. Romney demonstrated a rather cruel lack of interest in his family dog’s well being by putting it in a cage on the car’s roof for a long trip. Nothing “blew up” for liberals. Romney still seems like a rather heartless person, and nobody who doesn’t hate Obama already thinks any differently of him because they heard he ate meat given to him as a child in Indonesia.

    And the “Romney’s ancestors were polygamists” has blown up on them when folks realized Obama’s father was a polygamist.

    Obama’s dad was an asshole, and he hardly knew the guy. Romney’s ancestors moved to Mexico to continue being polygamists when shunned in the US for doing so. If you dopes really want to compare the two, go right ahead. Personally, I think it’s irrelevant what people the candidates were related to did once upon a time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  72. the Q says:

    Jenos, lets correct that to the 40 year old cocaine snorting George W. Bush……

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  73. Jenos Chinos says:

    @the Q:

    Jenos’ post equating the sins of the pot smoking, cocaine-snorting, drug crazed, negro Obama…

    Fixed that for ya.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  74. Tillman says:

    @Jenos Idanian: So, got anything nice to say about Romney?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  75. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Tillman: He’s got impressive hair.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  76. Commonist says:

    This is not a one-day story. this is proof that Romney was raised to be a lower type of human.

    Joyner has apparently never been bullied, and is not revolted to his core over the idea of a comfortable, rich and privileged boy from a nice home holding a boy down and treating him like livestock because his hair is… Non-conforming.

    I have no idea how to address you without getting my comment removed, James. I don’t want to believe men like you exist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  77. Jenos Idanian says:

    @mantis: State Senator Alice Palmer asked Ayers to host a “meet-the-candidate” coffee at his house for Obama, whom she endorsed in the primary to succeed her. Obama and Ayers didn’t even know each other at the time, and Ayers by then had worked in education for many years in Chicago.

    And they went on to work together at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge for several years, giving away a lot of money to a lot of liberals (including several of Ayers’ old co-conspirators, as I recall) to achieve exactly nothing of substance. And Obama made a point of blurbing one of Ayers’ books.

    So, how much “work in education” whitewashes an unrepentant terrorist who was plotting to set off a nail bomb at a dance, about half the attendees being civilian women?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  78. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Jenos Chinos: If you’re going to put words in my mouth, at least make them accurate: half-Negro. Obama is of mixed race, and “Negro” is a proper noun and therefore merits capitalization.

    I can ignore your baiting and senseless violations of this site’s Terms of Service, but when you add in gross stupidity, I have to draw the line.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  79. Commonist says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I dunno. But let’s talk about that time you saw an 18 years old Obama gang up on a person and destroy that person’s hair because it didn’t conform to his worldview.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  80. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Commonist: Sorry, missed that one. But how about Obama bullying a middle-school girl? That close enough?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9

  81. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    And they went on to work together at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge for several years, giving away a lot of money to a lot of liberals (including several of Ayers’ old co-conspirators, as I recall) to achieve exactly nothing of substance.

    I thought we didn’t know anything about it because NOT VETTED FTW! How have you managed to form this opinion on something so shrouded from public scrutiny?

    And Obama made a point of blurbing one of Ayers’ books.

    What does that mean, “made a point of” it? He read it and gave a quote to the Chicago Tribune when asked. So what?

    So, how much “work in education” whitewashes an unrepentant terrorist who was plotting to set off a nail bomb at a dance, about half the attendees being civilian women?

    I never said anything about whitewashing. Obama didn’t legitimize or rehabilitate Ayers after his terrorist past. That was long since done and Ayers worked in education in Chicago for years before they even met. You may not like that Ayers was able to rejoin legitimate society, but it ain’t Obama’s fault.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  82. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    But how about Obama bullying a middle-school girl? That close enough?

    Once again wingnuts compare stories about Obama when he was a young child to those of adults. The president writes in his book about an incident when he was 10 years old and he and the only other black girl in class were being mildly teased by other students (“Coretta’s got a boyfriend!,” and he shoved the girl, denied being her boyfriend, and she ran away.

    Anyone with any sense or honesty would see this story as a rather typical one in which grade school children are uncomfortable with their emotions and their appearance to others and express themselves poorly. No one would honestly consider it a case of bullying, like when an 18-year old Mitt Romney wielded a weapon led a mob to terrorize a gay student. But then no wingnut is honest.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  83. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jenos:

    Barack Obama was 33 when he had his political “coming out” party at Ayers’ home.

    McCain and lots of other people have made this claim even though it’s false.

    how much “work in education” whitewashes an unrepentant terrorist

    You need to address that complaint to the University of South Carolina (link), as well as many other universities:

    Like hundreds of other highly regarded education experts who share their research and ideas on how to improve education, Dr. Ayers has been invited to speak occasionally at our university, as well as many others like the University of Tennessee, University of North Carolina, University of Florida, Indiana University, University of Missouri, and the University of North Dakota, among many others.

    That’s because of his 20 years of expertise in reforming urban public education, reaching inner-city youth, and celebrating the role of teachers in improving society. He has a national and international reputation related to dealing effectively with disenfranchised children, youth, and their families, and has written extensively on many issues related to the need to ensure equity and access for children and families in poverty, for those with disabilities, and for those whose minority status often increases the likelihood of the presence of discriminatory practices.

    His occasional lectures here have always been focused solely on education, his professional expertise area. He has never been invited to our campus to espouse any political beliefs nor to discuss any of his past behaviors in support of those beliefs.

    As a major research university, the University of South Carolina is dedicated to preparing the best and brightest students to assume careers that will ultimately produce benefits for the greater good. As part of that dedication, we often solicit the expertise of those whose professional experiences and scholarship align with the educational needs of our students. In addition, our University, like all great universities, must serve as a place where the free exchange of ideas is not just encouraged but guaranteed.

    As with any guest speaker, the University paid his travel expenses and a small stipend. The vast majority of the funds used were provided from private donor accounts designated for professional development and exchange of ideas among speakers and students and faculty. Total state funds used were $2,656, which covered 8 lectures over a 13-year period.

    The ex officio Chairman of the Board of the University of South Carolina is the GOP governor (now Haley, formerly Sanford). According to modern GOP standards of guilt by association, Haley and Sanford are obliged to explain why they’ve been palling around with terrorists.

    That close enough?

    Nope. One child giving another child “a slight shove” is not anywhere near “close enough” to leading a mob attacking someone with scissors and holding him down while he is crying and screaming.

    But thanks for reminding us that there are lots of conservatives who have a desperate need to make phony comparisons.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  84. Maria says:

    (That said, he does not seem to have a personality that exhibits or values empathy.)

    I agree.. He does not have the ablity to put himself in others shoes and feel what they feel. Who is he to judge about whether the kids hair is right or wrong?

    He is NOT a real man to be able to ADMIT what he did WAS wrong……He brushes it off as he does NOT REMEMBER?! I would respect him if he did..but he does not..and I never will..

    Like with the Dog on the Roof incident… Has NEVER admitted well you know.. yep that IS WRONG or a form of cruelty toward animals.. No his statement was I wont do that again (because it caused too Much Publicity)….wtf?

    Romney does not care about anyone but Romney.. At Bain he did not care about all the lives he affected by laying people off and by outsourcing work.. It was all a game of Chess for him..He only cared about all the money he made and it did not matter who had to suffer in the procees… ahh its good to be king.

    Sadly he is one of those dark shallow empty superficial people that care only about how much money THEY make or power THEY have and that there stuff is all in order….iT DOES NOT MATTER WHO GETS HURT IN THE PROCESS

    Its pretty sad…..and that what is even sadder is the American public that do not see that…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  85. jukeboxgrad says:

    James linked to a Washington Examiner article which says this:

    Where are the 5,000 word stories about Obama’s teen years?

    (James didn’t cite that statement, but it’s in the article.) Jim Geraghty at NR made a similar statement:

    we see this all-out inspection of Romney’s teen years, with almost nothing equivalent four years ago

    And we also have a similar statement from Treacher:

    … he should’ve behaved more like Obama did in high school. Which was probably good, because he’s Obama, so why bother trying to find out? That’s not the Washington Post‘s concern

    Also Erick Erickson:

    The Washington Post can’t be bothered to worry about Barack Obama’s college years

    Also Jim Hoft:

    The Washington Post, a liberal rag that never investigated anything on the radical communist-mentored youth of Barack Obama

    And then there is also Glenn Reynolds whining about “the Post’s non-obsession with Obama’s college-era past in 2008 and 2012.”

    As mantis has suggested, these claims are false, because Obama’s past has gotten plenty of coverage, at WP and elsewhere. Since so many conservatives can’t figure out how to operate google and find that coverage, I thought I’d give them a hand.

    Link. That’s WP, 8/8/07. 9,000 words on Obama’s background. The article cites at least a dozen named witnesses, mostly people who knew Obama a long time ago.

    Link. That’s NYT, 2/9/08. 1,800 words. This article is based on “more than three dozen interviews [with] friends, classmates and mentors from his high school and Occidental.”

    Link. Chicago Tribune, 3/27/07. 2,800 words. Numerous details on Obama’s family history, starting long before he was born.

    The idea that the ‘liberal’ media never investigated Obama is pure baloney.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  86. LC says:

    Please. I don’t like Romney. I think he would be an awful President, at least as bad as Bush 43 if not worse, and I won’t for him, but really. 1965?

    That reporters at a major paper even thought this worth newsprint – let alone the endless commentary here, there and everywhere – speaks volumes not about Romney but about the insane and useless current (continuing) state of political coverage.

    It is worse than absurd. It is a continuing trivialization of the process of choosing nominees and electing candidates – all because gossip is so much easier to find and discuss than researching and talking about governance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  87. jukeboxgrad says:

    all because gossip is so much easier to find and discuss than researching and talking about governance

    Nice job ignoring what Michael Reynolds said hours ago, in one of the highest-rated comments in this thread:

    We can’t vote for Romney on his principles since he has none, or on his positions, which he changes every hour on the hour. Which leaves character.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  88. jukeboxgrad says:

    ABC has an additional statement from one of the named witnesses cited by WP:

    A high school classmate of presidential candidate Mitt Romney told ABC News today that he considers a particular prank the two pulled at Michigan’s Cranbrook School to be “assault and battery” and that he witnessed Romney hold the scissors to cut the hair of a student who was being physically pinned to the ground by several others.

    “It’s a haunting memory. I think it was for everybody that spoke up about it… because when you see somebody who is simply different taken down that way and is terrified and you see that look in their eye you never forget it. And that was what we all walked away with,” said Phillip Maxwell, who is now an attorney and still considers Romney an old friend.

    Pretty amazing that Mitt says he can’t remember this. There’s only one way that makes sense: if he did this sort of thing all the time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  89. rodney dill says:

    Jim Treacher… Jim Treacher… Jim Treacher…
    (pause)

    Oh well, it worked for Beetlejuice..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  90. jukeboxgrad says:

    Above I cited various major articles investigating Obama’s past. Here’s another one that belongs on the list: WP, 8/24/08. Over 10,000 words, citing many named witnesses who knew Obama and his family many years ago.

    Just trying to help all those conservatives who are whining incessantly about the alleged non-existence of articles like this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  91. Jenos Idanian says:

    Huh. The very next day after Obama finally “evolves” his position on gay marriage, a very meticulously researched story on Mitt Romney’s alleged “queer-bashing” as a high schooler comes out. And the Obama campaign launches a full-bore fundraising effort focused around Obama’s newfound support for gay marriage. Funny how that all happens at once.

    Kind of reminds me about that Republican presidential debate when George Stepha-whatever, out of the blue, asks the candidates if the states can outlaw contraception, prompting a huge round of “WTF?” questions. Within days, the Obama administration announces that under ObamaCare, there will be no “religious exemption” for employers paying for contraception for their employees — even for those religions who consider at least some forms of contraception sinful. And thus kicks off the farce known as “the Republican war on women.” Again, what a wild coincidence.

    Why, one would have to be absolutely paranoid and delusional to even consider that there might be some kind of collusion between the Democratic leadership and the media…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  92. Jenos Idanian says:

    Oh, and it seems the Washington Post’s thoroughly-researched story on Romney has one or two teeny tiny flaws…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  93. Hey Norm says:

    Jenos links to Breitbart…the model of truth and honesty.
    Hahahahaha….you can’t make it up.
    You are what you read I suppose….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  94. Hey Norm says:

    “…Why, one would have to be absolutely paranoid and delusional to even consider that there might be some kind of collusion between the Democratic leadership and the media…”

    And yet you are convinced that there is collusion between the Democratic leadership and the media.
    Ipso facto…by your own calculation…you are both paranoid and delusional. Thanks for clearing that up for us Jenos. None of us would have thought so otherwise.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  95. mattb says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    @Commonist: Sorry, missed that one. But how about Obama bullying a middle-school girl? That close enough?

    There are a couple other key differences that should be mentioned. First is that Obama himself openly admitted to doing this (in fact was the one who shared the story). Additionally, he expressed regret for the action.

    As with others, my bigger concern with Romney is not that he did this, but the way the response was managed — i.e. claiming he didn’t remember, denying it was that bad, and not expressing any regret for the action.

    This fits into a larger pattern of action by Romney’s where he never really admits that there was anything wrong with actions that he took in the past. Adding this to his record of denying that he’s flipped on previously held “liberal” position, and his attempt to take claim for things he didn’t do (i.e. the Auto Bailout) becomes a problematic pattern.

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  96. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Let us not pretend that authoritarian followers like Jenos don’t get a secret thrill from Romney’s abusive behavior. I’d bet that, among Jenos’ cohort of pencil-weenies, this incident has served to endear the guy they were previously going to have to hold their noses to vote for.

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  97. Katie says:

    I suspect that there’s more to this assault than the right-wing dominated media is letting on and this is a secret that the Republicans have tried to hush up for a while. Anyone who googles ‘haircutting fetish’ and reads about Romney reported frame of mind prior to the assault – which he meticulously planned – will get something of an idea of why the Romney Camp are frantically trying to put a ‘hijinks’, ‘normal boys will be boys’ slant on all of this. In the wider world though, fact and both medical and criminal case study show otherwise though. Of course, most haircutting fetishists with that particular paraphilia are harmless, but when it crosses over into holding people against their will and threatening and abusing them with sharp objects it’s obviously a different story. For a recent example, google ‘Daniel Restivo’, for example. One suspects that the people who make excuses for Romney would feel somewhat different if it were their daughter or son left sobbing and distraught after being trapped and abused by a gang of men wielding sharp objects!

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  98. haldon richardson says:

    If cheerleader Romney was mean enough as an adolescent to criminally assault someone, that same elitist, detached personality undoubtedly still exists today. How else does a person justify doing what Romney did at Bain, making millions while destroying factory after factory, selling off the pieces and eliminating middle class jobs? I’ve read so many right wings hacks relish the notion of “cutting a hippie’s hair”. I think we’ve stumbled onto what are the four most quintessential conservative Republican traits: fear, elitism, smugness and weakness masquerading as strength, manifested in twisted aggression.

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  99. norm says:

    @al-Ameda: I’m the same as I was in the 6th grade! I found a small autograph book they gave us to collect autographs of our classmates. The teacher wrote, I don’t know what you’ve got but everybody likes it! Others wrote how I made them laugh. I guess I was popular. How come, 46 years later I haven’t changed but of course they say Romney did. I don’t think he did, he still thinks his ideas are right and if he could get away with it, I’m sure he’d use those scissors on anyone he didn’t agree with.

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