Mitt Romney Remembers Things That Happened Before He Was Born!

I’ll say this much for Mitt Romney, he’s got one amazing memory:

DETROIT—When Mitt Romney regaled a Michigan audience this week with childhood memories of a landmark moment in Detroit history, it was a rare instance of emotional candour.

And, perhaps, an even rarer example of time travel.

Romney recalled he was “probably 4 or something like that” the day of the Golden Jubilee, when three-quarters of a million people gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the American automobile.

“My dad had a job being the grandmaster. They painted Woodward Ave. with gold paint,” Romney told a rapt Tea Party audience in the village of Milford Thursday night, reliving a moment of American industrial glory.

The Golden Jubilee described so vividly by Romney was indeed an epic moment in automotive lore. The parade included one of the last public appearances by an elderly Henry Ford.

And it took place June 1, 1946 — fully nine months before Romney was born.

The timelines suggest Romney could well have been conceived that day. But it is inconceivable he was actually there.

To be fair to Romney, it’s possible that he’s simple remembering a story his father, who was involved in the Jubilee, told him when he was young. Nonetheless, one would have thought somebody would’ve checked the dates on this one  before putting it in a stump speech.

H/T: OTB commenter DRS

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Neil Hudelson says:

    To be fair to Romney, I’ve had the same experience (and perhaps this is where you were going with your comment).

    Stories told to me repeatedly as a child became real memories. I don’t know the psychology behind it, but kids are impressionable. A vivid enough story with real emotion behind it, 40 years later you remember it as if it was your own.

  2. CSAcademic says:

    Though amusing, I generally give candidates (of any stripe) a pass on things like this.

    More egregious is Santorum’s claim that he grew up in public housing. First, it’s grossly misleading. Second, he’s actually admitting that other people’s taxes paid for his housing?

  3. de stijl says:

    He’s just channeling Reagan. Who knows, maybe Romney also helped film the liberation of Nazi concentration camps, too.

  4. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Yep, I clearly remember the New York Knicks’ first championship of the Red Holzman era even though I merely was a young child at the time and between us and the four walls I don’t really remember it. It’s just that my father was a Knicks fanatic and he talked about it so often and with such reverence that it’s morphed into some sort of quasi memory of my own.

    As for Romney, hell, the guy can’t win for losing. If he gives a scriped and polished speech with no errors whatsoever the chattering classes will slam him for being dull and robotic. If he makes an off-the-cuff comment and thereby unintentionally transmutes a inherited anecdote into a technically-incorrect yard then the chattering classes will slam him for being disingenuous. Heads they win, tails you lose. Par for the course, however, given that Romney is guilty of being a Republican.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    To be fair to Romney, it’s possible that he’s simple remembering a story his father, who was involved in the Jubilee, told him when he was young.

    I too have been guilty of such. We all have implanted memories. Some of the depression era memories my old man and his siblings told me are so vivid in my mind, it is almost hard to believe I wasn’t there.

    Nonetheless, one would have thought somebody would’ve checked the dates on this one before putting it in a stump speech.

    I think that is why they always carry bottles of ketchup every where they go. If you look closely, you can even see the ketchup leaking out of his shoes.

  6. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Heads they win, tails you lose. Par for the course, however, given that Romney is guilty of being a Republican.

    And a fantasist in this case…. but then IOKIYAR isn’t it?

  7. michael reynolds says:

    If you can baptize dead Jews and relocate them to the lowest level of Mormon heaven, who’s to say you can’t remember stuff that happened before you existed?

  8. DRS says:

    Yes, we all have “memories” like this – I believe the technical term is “implanted memories”. But we’re not running for president and we don’t have a communications team on our campaign whose job is to create talking points and write speeches for us. There’s no such thing as an unscripted moment on a well-run, well-organized, been-doing-it-for-six-freaking-years campaign.

    This wasn’t an off-the-cuff throw-away line like the NASCAR team owners thing, where the only issue is Romney’s tin ear for relating to regular folks. This was a prepared speech. It’s supposed to be vetted. That’s what Romney pays these people to do.

  9. lankyloo says:

    Glad to hear that my hometown is now a hotbed of the tea party.

  10. PD Shaw says:

    @Neil Hudelson: At least one of the psychological theories is that repetition effects memory. If you recall the game where you sit in a circle and one person starts by whispering a story into the next person’s ear, and it continues around the circle, until the final person repeats a story that has scant reflection to the original, memory appears to work like that sometimes. If you repeat the story out loud, over time, it will change the story in our memory. Its very easy to imagine a story that happened to a family member that you repeat, perhaps dropping the third person framing device of the story, until its your own story.

  11. Tillman says:

    See, this isn’t bad. This is almost endearing. Especially:

    And it took place June 1, 1946 — fully nine months before Romney was born.

    The timelines suggest Romney could well have been conceived that day. But it is inconceivable he was actually there.

    Now if Romney could have somehow inserted that into the speech somehow, it would’ve been, dear God, a good jibe. “Y’know, I was conceived during the Golden Jubilee of the Automobile.”

    But nah, he went there. As a zygote, apparently.

  12. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Yeah, I don’t hold him responsible for this one. Anything that supposedly happened to you before you were around five years old – it is hard to know if you actually remember it, or if you just remember being told about it.

  13. The Commenter Formerly Known as Jenos Idanian says:

    He’s in good company, right along Hillary Clinton (“I was named for Sir Edmund Hilary”) and Barack Obama (“my parents’ marriage was made possible by the March in Selma.”)

    This is a whole lot of nothing.

  14. @Neil Hudelson:

    Stories told to me repeatedly as a child became real memories. I don’t know the psychology behind it, but kids are impressionable. A vivid enough story with real emotion behind it, 40 years later you remember it as if it was your own.

    It’s a function of the way people remember things, and it’s not limited to children. We don’t record things like a VCR, the way people often assume, we record summary data about our perceptions, and when we ‘remember’ something we’re really just reconstructing a fantasy based on all the details still present. As time passes, more and more details get filtered out as being irrelevant and our memories of a particular event will become further and further detached from what actually happened.

  15. Hey Norm says:

    Typically I would think this was simply a matter of a family story becoming confused in a child’s mind.
    But given that it came from a severely truth-challenged Romney…I’m less inclined to give the benefit of doubt.

  16. Franklin says:

    @The Commenter Formerly Known as Jenos Idanian: Don’t forget Hillary ducking sniper fire in Bosnia or whatever. Again, human memory just isn’t as good as most people think. And Romney wasn’t even close to being an adult in either reality or his imagination, so he gets a pass. As Doug says, though, the script-writers don’t.

  17. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Hey Norm: Then you really ought to go after Joe Biden. I got one story where he told about three whoppers about his own past in less than 30 seconds. And none of these were “family history,” but Joe just out and out lying about his own accomplishments.

    Romney’s a piker.

  18. Hey Norm says:

    Jenos…
    You’ll have to forgive me if I ignore your nonsense.

  19. Jenos Idanian says:

    -@Hey Norm: When it comes to “nonsense,” Joe Biden maks me look like a piker. Hell, he makes you look intelligent, and that’s nothing if not miraculous.

  20. Dr. Syn says:

    @Jenos Idanian: So share it.

  21. An Interested Party says:

    Par for the course, however, given that Romney is guilty of being a Republican phony who talks out of both sides of his mouth.

    Happy to be of help…

  22. RON PAUL says:

    REMINDS ME OF ALL THE PHONY CLAIMS OBUMA MADE UP DURING HIS CAMPAIGN