Young Mitt Romney

Today's Washington Post features a long story about Mitt Romney's days as a self-satisfied, conservative schoolboy, and it's not too pretty. Among the article's lowlights is an incident, corroborated by several former schoolmates, in which the possible future President hounded an allegedly gay classmate about his slightly unusual haircut, eventually  pinning him to the ground and cutting his hair in front of a crowd of peers.

During his senior year at prestigious Michigan prep school Cranbrook, Romney took a vehement dislike to classmate John Lauber's new "bleached-blond hair that draped over the eye," reportedly complaining to friends, "He can't look like that. That's wrong. Just look at him!" Tensions soon came to a head: 

"A few days later, [classmate Matthew Friedmann] 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 his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors."

Numerous classmates were troubled by the incident ("It was vicious," said one) and before his death in 2004, Lauber told a former classmate, "It was horrible. It's something I have thought about a lot since then." For his part, though, Romney doesn't recall a thing. "Anyone who knows Mitt Romney knows that he doesn't have a mean-spirited bone in his body," said a spokesman. "The stories of fifty years ago seem exaggerated and off base and Governor Romney has no memory of participating in these incidents."

Not exactly the news Romney probably wants released right on the heels of Obama's historic endorsement of same-sex marriage, but on the plus side, maybe Scissor-gate will finally draw attention away from the dog-on-the-roof incident?

Commentarium (61 Comments)

May 10 12 - 1:33pm

I don't think it's entirely poignant or newsworthy what the guy did as a dumb kid in college. But what I think doesn't seem to gel with what the mainstream media feels is poignant and newsworthy. So if Obama can catch flack for the church he went to or whom his mentor was at that age, then Romney can for being a homophobic asshole.

May 10 12 - 10:53pm

The kids are grown, busy
Living alone, do you feel lonely?
If you still believe in love, let us find an old mate for you.

May 10 12 - 3:00pm
liz allen

More proof that Mutt Robme is a homophobe, always has been never evolved. At least Pres. Obama evolved on the issue as a majority (78%) of americans have.

May 11 12 - 1:48pm

Is this meant as a serious comment, liz, or are you just venting?

May 10 12 - 3:17pm

So what if he assaulted a kid he thought was gay? At least he didn't eat dog.

Seriously, though, as despicable an act as that was, it was 47 years ago, and he was a teen-ager. What one did as a child, as a general matter, should not disqualify one from being President. I'm much more troubled by the fact that he claims not to remember the incident, when all the other living participants do, and are ashamed of their participation in it. Is Romney lying about not remembering? Or did he commit so many assaults as a teen-ager that they all blur together? Or is his psychological make-up such that committing an assault just doesn't register with him? It's who Romney is *today* that disqualifies him as Presidential material, not who he was in 1965.

May 11 12 - 1:14pm

Not a child. 18 years old. He proposed to his wife the same year.

May 11 12 - 2:03pm
Kingston Trio

Maybe, maybe not. He turned 18 in March 1965. In an interview, Romney claims that the possibility of the kid being homosexual was not part of the incident, but you know better, eh, Kel? OK, fair enough - just prove that the bigotry on display here is Romney's and not yours.

Also, the WaPo published a significant correction to its reporting on the story.

I suspect your track record of being wrong about everything upon which you comment is unbroken.

And we did record Early Morning Rain but please feel free to tell me who wrote it, who else recorded it and be a real ass about it.

May 11 12 - 2:45pm

There is no correction on the Washington Post website. Please provide a link, unless you just made that up.

May 12 12 - 6:19pm
Kingston Trio

Nah, you can use google. Try "washington post changes story on romney." Technology is wonderful! Hilariously, the "story" is unraveling as you'll see when you do a little research.

May 13 12 - 6:46am

here's an explanation of the change.
it is in no way a significant correction to the story.
but keep on trollin, kingston

May 14 12 - 2:59pm

The WaPo erroneously reported that one of the livid witnesses had "long" been bothered by the incident. The man in question didn't even know about the incident until contacted by the WaPo a couple weeks earlier.

No significant correction???? I wonder what else the WaPo made up or reported incorrectly? I probably shouldn't be too hard on you though; the Pew Research poll showed that conservatives are more intellectually consistent than "progressives."

May 10 12 - 3:26pm

I'm uncomfortable with people judging the man on his actions from high-school. I'm not a M. Romney fan, nor do I plan to vote for him, but I know plenty of assholes from high-school who turned out to be pretty awesome people as adults. With that said, I'm not a Romney supporter, but not because of something that he did back when he was 17 or 18.

May 10 12 - 3:51pm
Buck Nasty

I don't. The fucktards back then are fucktards now. Actually some did change when they got their asses handed to them.

May 11 12 - 2:15pm
Kingston Trio

We'll assume you speak from personal knowledge, Buck.

May 14 12 - 3:01pm

Bazinga! Buck owned by the Kingston Trio.

May 10 12 - 4:12pm
Rex Merritt

Is action still indicative of character? And of traits that may continue into the future?

May 11 12 - 2:16pm
Good point

I think I'm following you. You're bothered by Obama's drug use, aren't you?

May 10 12 - 4:34pm

Firstly, I think teenagers should be held responsible for their actions, they're not little kids. Secondly, I think he could be forgiven for being a teenage bully if he showed any remorse (people change), but he's refusing to apologise for or even acknowledge the incident, despite the evidence not being in his favour.

May 11 12 - 1:56pm
Kingston Trio

Never let the facts get in the way of your conclusion, Rita:

There are dozens more if you simply do a google search, indicating it was widely reported.

Far from "refusing to apologize," wouldn't you say, Rita?

It's shocking how close-minded people are on nerve; further indication that the Pew Research poll was spot on.

May 13 12 - 7:00am

oh, thank god, the pew research troll is back.
just for the sake of the broader discourse, the problem with romney's apologies is that they're not really apologies. he says 'gee i dont remember doing any of that, but if i did, i sure am sorry.'
well, that's all well and good, but doesn't really have the same weight as a real apology because he doesn't acknowledge that any of it actually happened. its an 'i'm sorry you feel that way' apology. and its patently bullshit. if he doesnt remember assaulting a guy with a pair of scissors while his posse held him down and he cried in humiliation, there's something wrong with his memory.

May 14 12 - 9:42pm

Oh, thank god, the idiots validating the Pew Research poll are in force.

His family doesn't believe it happened. I know it steps on your narrative of hate but you need to at least admit into your realm of thinking that Romney doesn't remember the reported event or it didn't happen.

May 10 12 - 4:47pm

Do you really want to go there?
What do you think will turn up in Obama's past that we don't know.
It's what teenagers do.
Can one of you state that you didn't bully someone at that age, for what ever reason, fashion, social status etc.

May 10 12 - 10:18pm

I can. I have never bullied anyone in my life and that's a fact. But that's not the point here. The really disturbing thing is that Romney claims not to remember the incident. If it really was insignificant enough for him to not be able to recall it today, then that is a cause for concern. If he's lying to cover it up, that doesn't speak too well of him either. Personally, I would respect him more if he acknowledged his role in the incident, admitted it was wrong and showed us that grew as a person from it.

May 11 12 - 3:39am
Mr. Man

Same here. Never bullied anyone my entire life and see bullying as a serious character flaw. A willingness to crush what is different from oneself which indicates intolerance.

May 11 12 - 12:06pm
Bo D

According to Obama's best selling but never read autobiographies, he physically assaulted a female in middle school. I guess we all have to vote 3rd party?

May 14 12 - 10:49am

No, Obama shoved and teased the only black girl in the school, then told his mother, who then had a conversation with her son about respecting others and the proper way to behave. Obama apologized to the girl the next day. So, no, he didn't organize a team of HS seniors to pin down much younger, slightly effeminate classmate and brutally assault him, with no sense of remorse and no apologies. But otherwise the stories are identical, right?

May 14 12 - 3:03pm
Does anyone really..

...believe anything happened that's BO's autobiographies?

And who else has written not one but TWO autobiographies?

May 10 12 - 5:15pm
Sean Morrow

Is it just me or is caring enough about someone else's hair to assault them super gay?

May 10 12 - 10:33pm

Nope, not just you. I was thinking something along the same lines. He freaked the hell out when he found himself attracted to the guy due to his hair. And then had to make it go away so he didn't have to keep suffering his attraction.

In my experience, no totally straight dude would give a shit about another guy's hair to that degree.

May 11 12 - 2:17pm
Total Projection

It's just you, Sean and your projection on display.

May 11 12 - 4:51am
Niel Malan

"Can't remember the incident." So bad that such a terrible thing can be done so casually.

May 11 12 - 10:00am

His forgetting of the incident is what's troubling. A bully wouldn't remember harming another unless the bully was reflective of the incident and chose to make amends in some way (whether to his/her god, to the person bullied, or performing other good acts in atonement). If this was just some other "stupid thing" he had done, imagine the things he did that he might now regret.

May 11 12 - 12:31pm
Chewy Chewbacca

Maybe Mitt doesn't remember the event because it didn't happen like the family of the "victim" seemed to sugges to ABC News?

May 14 12 - 3:06pm
Burn Him!

You'll smoke a turd in hell for suggesting that, Chewy! Of course, it happened! And people on nerve can read Romney's mind! They know it happened, know what he was thinking and are working on a time machine so they can go back to 1965, arrest him, give him a fair trial and throw him in jail. But he will only be in jail until he can be executed!

Likely, it didn't happen, at least not the way it's reported - the WaPo has already significantly changed its reporting.

May 11 12 - 1:20pm

That was his sister, who also said they rarely saw each other and he wasn't likely to discuss this with her. Five classmates gave matching eyewitness testimony and all the other facts were vetted. It happened.

May 11 12 - 2:19pm
Kingston Trio

There's one thing you can count on: If Kel says it happened, it most likely didn't happen.

May 13 12 - 2:43pm

It happened. It was well documented by four of the witnesses. "Four of the five witnesses to the forcible haircut cited by the Post are on the record, by name, and remember it well. Their accounts remain unchallenged." is a quote from the article about the correction to the original article which you refused to post yourself from sheer laziness and inaccuracy.

May 13 12 - 4:42pm
WaPo Laziness

Unfortunately, I'm guilty of the same:

“I always enjoyed his pranks,” said Stu White, a popular friend of Romney’s who went on to a career as a public school teacher and has long been bothered by the Lauber incident."

Well, not quite:

“I always enjoyed his pranks,” said Stu White, a popular friend of Romney’s who went on to a career as a public school teacher and said he has been “disturbed” by the Lauber incident since hearing about it several weeks ago, before being contacted by The Washington Post. “But I was not the brunt of any of his pranks.”

If this is such a strong story, why lie about it?

Kel has demonstrated him/herself as a total jackass. Good to see you want to be added to the ja-parade, Rj!

May 14 12 - 6:33pm

They misunderstood what he said when they interviewed him the first time so they changed the wording in the print version. Regardless, he wasn't a witness anyway so you're really trying to nitpick an irrelevant point, and nobody was trying to lie about anything.

May 14 12 - 9:44pm

The man in question had "long been bothered by the event" but was unaware of it until a couple of weeks ago. Manufacturing a witness is irrelevant? If you think so, you know as little about the law as profrobert.

May 11 12 - 2:37pm

The troll is back! Yippee! Greg/Kingston Trio/Total Projection/Seriously/Good point/too many other aliases to keep track of. The same kind of comment, stated in the same manner, over and over again in a very short time period. So clever!

And whose day would be complete without another mention of the Pew research poll? And yet Greg and all his many aliases conveniently ignore all the other polls, oh wait, not polls but actual studies backed by science, showing the conservative brain to be less evolved and more fear-based than the liberal brain.
To name only a few:

But guess what, dear troll? I actually don't have faith in these "studies" because, well, I'm smart and don't believe in sweeping generalizations about huge groups of people. I believe that people are more complex than any "study" can measure.

You're not fooling anyone and you're embarrassing yourself. I feel sorry for you and hope your life becomes more positive than hiding behind a keyboard pretending to be a multitude of people sometime soon.

May 11 12 - 2:57pm

Wow - liberals all think they're more evolved. Amazing! And you even cite a blog!

And you're smart! You even say so!

lol. Idiot.

Pew Research poll.

May 11 12 - 3:53pm

smt, I had to learn the hard way, too. Greg/many aliases troll is not to be reasoned with. Don't try. Although it is hilarious that he just proved all of your points and validated the studies you cited in one fell swoop. Impressive. Good job, troll.

May 11 12 - 4:06pm
Oh, no!

I embarrassed myself again? I'm so sorry but then I don't have an evolved brain, particularly compared to you self-identified smart people!

Also, hi Kel! You realize that anytime you use your real nick, you're going to get dumped on, don't you?

May 11 12 - 5:49pm

I ask you, is there any troll like our troll? I would posit that the wit, the style of him is unparalleled on the internet! Other trolls might try but really, can they lay claim to entirely sidestepping a point like he can? Or to his name-calling artistry? I mean really, calling someone an "idiot," so inventive, so brilliant! Or his valiant attempt to satirize the fact that someone has the audacity to think that being able to recognize biased polls and studies shows a higher degree of intelligence than believing anything that supports one's own political beliefs does? (Or perhaps that's his definition of his constantly touted "I intellectual consistency": blindly believing whatever supports one's own agenda. Which I grant you, would be consistent but not very high on the intellectual/intelligence scale, now would it?)

No, no I tell you, I think not. I would not trade our troll for anyone eles's. Who else could take the accusation I made of his many aliases and turn it around on me so emphatically? A wonderful taunt reminiscent of the classic schoolyard taunt, "I know you are but what am I?" Brilliance, once again!

And to "Nope" I do see what you're saying, I truly do. As I'm fairly new to Nerve, and entirely new to commenting on here, I'm sure feeding the troll will get old. But for now I would not give up my Greggie troll for anything!

Signing off for the wknd to have even more fun but you, you have fun commenting on the internet all wknd long, trollie poo!

PS To Kel, I haven't paid much attention to your posts but I promise to from now on. Anyone who can make the troll so angry must be worth paying attention to. I salute you sir/madam!

May 11 12 - 10:36pm
Pew Research

Thanks for paying so much attention, smt/Kel. I really do appreicate it. There's hope for you yet!

May 12 12 - 5:07pm

@smt: Kudos to you, you're both a great writer and extremely funny. I wish I found trolls as amusing as you but I'm just not there. Although I do think it's very funny that all Greg could come up with was the above as nyone with good reading skills can tell you and Kel aren't the same person, just as we can all tell Greg and his many aliases are.

May 12 12 - 6:22pm

And I wish I was so intellectually vacuous that I could dismiss those I disagree with as "trolls." Enter into the world of ideas, debate and reason - it's scary, compared to your reflexive name calling, but it's worth the trouble.

May 13 12 - 1:52pm

@smt - hilarious! However, as you can see there's really no dealing with "our" troll. The fact that he could could possibly believe that he's not a troll, and that his hatefulness and hostility on here actually could constitute "the world of ideas, debate and reason" is what's really scary. And renders him a complete waste of time. So pls, funny as you are, don't keep feeding him.

May 13 12 - 4:45pm

You, too, Rachel? Total moonwalking with no intellectual content? I look forward to your whining about the unfairness of the Romney administration! I truly hope that statement isn't too hateful and hostile! Why, I'd truly think you're using those characterizations as a means to shut down debate! Nah, that couldn't be, could it? You're way too intellectual about that, aren't you?

May 14 12 - 11:52pm

Returned from a great internet-free weekend to see that the troll took my above advice and really does seem to have spent his entirely weekend attacking people on Nerve! What a fun, full life it must be to spend all of one's time on such an endeavor!

More seriously, @ Nope and Rachel: I see now that you were right in your advice to me. My only excuse is that being new to this I had no way of knowing the depth of the troll's troubles, and thought him only immature and ridiculous. I found it very amusing to respond to those qualities. But I must say, that seeing the frantic manner of his recent posts, along with the delusional and/or disingenuous idea that he's somehow engaged in rational debate made me rethink things. His is clearly a disturbed and delusional mind, not just immature and silly, and as such should not be messed with, it's just not right. So I therefore do solemnly pledge to not feed him.

May 15 12 - 3:40pm

You could discuss issues and refrain from name-calling. Just a thought.

May 15 12 - 7:11pm

@smt: Thanks for your response. And no worries, it took me some time to see the proverbial light as well. I peruse several different sites on a semi-regular basis but had never encountered anything quite lie our troll before and didn't want to believe he was as immune to rational discourse as I eventually had to admit he was.

As you can see from the troll's reply, you seem to be right about a disturbed mind. It really takes a special kind of delusion for someone to be all over this site calling people idiots and jackasses and then be able to manufacture offense at being called a troll. I think we're seeing the workings of an entrenched personality disorder here, most likely borderline pd. And you're correct, best to leave this sad person to their own devices and hope that he seeks the help he needs sooner rather than later.

May 15 12 - 8:31pm

@smt and Nope - agreed. It has to be a sign of a disturbed/delusional mind to post all over of both this thread and this site that other posters are morons, idiots, etc and then to try to act like being called out for the troll you are is the height of incivility. Beyond hope and not worth the effort. But you're right, sad, too. Very.

May 16 12 - 10:14pm
Boo Hoo

Yes, so, so sad, Rachel. It's almost enough to make one weep over your inability to be coherent. Oh, cry for the the American education system!

May 13 12 - 10:18pm
Red Herring

US Citizens want to know how we are going to reduce our Debt now that it exceeds our GDP. Answer? Mitt was a homophobe when he was 18, so we should just keep spending.

May 14 12 - 10:56am

This sad goof makes a stupid statement, I correct it, and now all of his nicknames are ganging up on me. Please take me back to when Nerve had fewer trolls and more Suicide Girls pictorials.

May 14 12 - 3:12pm
Kingston Trio

Oh no! I'm ganging up on you? You're the victim of bullying then?

Don't want so many opposing points of view, Kel? Too bad.

Tell us again how we didn't record Early Morning Rain, kel. We love it when you are so self-righteously moronic.

May 15 12 - 12:46pm

Please hurry up with those Suicide Girls pictorials, Nerve!

May 15 12 - 7:17pm

@Kel, you can't argue with disturbed so don't bother trying. Remember that this person, who on this thread alone, has called you an idiot, a moron and a jackass is the same person crying foul over being called a troll and attempting to take people to task for "name-calling." It's kind of funny, but even more just plain sad.

On a more positive note, he also seems to hate profrobert so in my opinion you're in very good company. I'm sure he can't stand seeing someone being so intelligent and balanced on a regular basis and finds prfrobert's obvious superiority enraging. So keep that in mind when he hurls his childish insults at you.

May 15 12 - 10:56pm
Kingston Trio

But the fact remains that we recorded Early Morning Rain; Somethin' Else, 1965. On the other hand, Kel said:

"@gen: Early Morning Rain was a Gordon Lightfoot song covered by Peter Paul & Mary and Ian & Sylvia among others, but not the Kingston Trio. Your facts are wrong, so your opinions are wrong."

And, although, I didnt' call kel the names you suggest, one thing is certain: At least on this particular answer he tried to be pedantic and was just....wrong.

If robert is a law professor as he occasionally suggests, his student should ask for a refund. I will pull up comments similar to those above by kel to show that robert doesn't understand fundamental concepts of the law. Best of all, he delivers them in a similar manner: Arrogant, pendantic and erroneous.

It's fun playing with you, bitches!