What Fresh Hell Is This?

December 23, 2007

Mitt Romney Lies: An Update

Much has happened since I posted this.

Mostly this article from The Politico about eyewitness accounts of Gov George Romney and the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King marching hand in hand in Grosse Pointe Michigan.

It even showed up as a comment on my original post.

Here's how the article at The Politico began:

Shirley Basore, 72, says she was sitting in the hairdresser’s chair in wealthy Grosse Pointe, Mich., back in 1963 when a rumpus started and she discovered that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and her governor, George Romney, were marching for civil rights — right past the window.

With the cape still around her neck, Basore went outside and joined the parade.

“They were hand in hand,” recalled Basore, a former high-school English teacher. “They led the march. We all swung our hands, and they held their hands up above everybody else’s.”

Now no one is accusing Gov George Romney of not possessing a solid record on Civil Rights in the 60s. He marched in important marches, he attended important rallies, he was at Dr King's funeral. The question here is about Gov Mitt Romney's honesty (and the honesty of his campaign). He initially said, remember, that he saw his father march with Dr King. There are two statements of fact in play here:
  1. that the elder Romney marched with Dr King and
  2. the younger Romney saw it.
If the two never marched together, then the younger Romney could not have seen it happen. Which brings us back to the eyewitness accounts of the march in June of 1963.

There's been some fact-checking done by the Washington Post:

There is no dispute that George Romney supported the Civil Rights movement while governor of Michigan. When King came to Detroit in June 1963 for a civil rights march, Romney issued a proclamation supporting the event. According to accounts in the Detroit Free Press and The New York Times, he sent two representatives to the march on his behalf, which took place on Sunday, June 23. He told the Free Press that he avoided public appearances on the Sabbath because of his Mormon religion.

Romney did show up at a smaller march the following Saturday in the exclusive Grosse Pointe suburb of Michigan to protest housing discrimination. But contemporaneous news reports show that King had left the Michigan area by then, and was traveling in the Northeast. On Friday, June 28, he was in Suffolk, VA, according to an Associated Press report published in the Washington Post. On Saturday, June 29, he addressed an AFL-CIO meeting at Rutgers University in New Jersey, according to the Chicago Tribune. (Cited by the Boston Phoenix here.) He spent the following day in Brooklyn, arriving by car in Harlem on Sunday evening, according to the New York Times.

The piece above also said that AFTER news reports challenged Romney's repeated accounts of his father marching with King, it was his campaign that put the reporter from the Politico in touch with the eyewitnesses. Something the Boston Phoenix has a little problem with:
Two women contacted the Mitt Romney campaign this week, offering their memories of seeing Romney's father march with Martin Luther King Jr., in Grosse Point Michigan in 1963. Campaign officials were well aware that the women were mistaken. Yet, they directed those women to tell their stories to a Politico reporter. The motives and memories of the two women are unknown and irrelevant; the motives of the campaign, however, were obvious -- to spread information they knew to be untrue, for the good of the candidate.
They restate things:

A King researcher editing his letters from that time has stated definitively that the two men never marched together; Michigan and Grosse Pointe historians have stated definitively that King was not at the 1963 Grosse Pointe march; Michigan civil-rights participants of the time have concurred; so have those who worked for George Romney at the time.

All of this evidence is important to present to the general public, but it is unnecessary for the Romney campaign -- it has been clear for some time that they know perfectly well that the two men never marched together.

Bear in mind that the Romney team has a substantial research team (and vast resources for outsourcing more). Bear in mind that the campaign has compiled vast documentation about the candidate's father, particularly his civil-rights activities, long before the Phoenix posed the question earlier this week. Bear in mind that the campaign has direct access to George Romney's materials and documents, his family members, his friends, his former staff, etc.

Believe me, they know the two men never marched together. This is an attempt to rewrite history. And even if it is a small rewriting, it is offensive.

The first misstatement of Romney might be excused because it might have been based on faulty memory, but to repeat the tale even when they know to be untrue as true is truly offensive.

But par for the course for contemporary Republican Presidential politics, I guess.

It also brings me to my first point. Al Gore was painted as a "serial exaggerator" (even though he wasn't) during the 2000 election cycle. Now that a Republican candidate for president has actually been caught in an offensive lie, what will the mainstream media do with this?

1 comment:

Schmuck Shitrock said...

So what, Dayvoe. My Dad, Mitt's Dad, and MLK all went to different schools together, but MLK's Dad had the good sense never to lie about it.