Saturday, December 22, 2007

Witnesses and Newspaper Reports Support Story That George Romney Actually Marched With Martin Luther King

Here is a bizarre story. Recently Mitt Romney said that he saw his father march with Martin Luther King. The statement was challenged. Romney responded that he meant "saw" and "marched with" in the figurative sense that George was well known as being pro-civil rights. In the process he came off looking like a pathetic parser of words.

This morning it is being reported in the Politico that independent witnesses and contemporary newspaper articles verify that Mitt Romney's father George, who was the civil rights supporting Republican governor of Michigan at the time, actually did march with Martin Luther King in Detroit in 1963.

From the Politico

witness, Ashby Richardson, 64, of Massachusetts gave (an) account.

“I’m just appalled that the news picks this stuff up and say it didn’t happen,” Richardson, now a data-collection consultant, said by phone. “The press is being disingenuous in terms of reporting what actually happened. I remember it vividly. I was only 15 or 20 feet from where both of them were.”
Shirley Basore, another eyewitness to George Romney and Martin Luther King marching hand in hand, was mad at the cable news coverage.
“This very arrogant guy on TV questioned Mitt Romney, and I marched with them,” Basore said. “I hope that the campaign demands an apology. I want him to publicly apologize to me. That was a personal insult, and an insult to Mitt Romney.”
My guess is that Mitt, who was relatively young at the time, had often heard the family story that dad marched with Martin Luther King. When somebody challenged the account he couldn't personally separate the oft repeated family story from his own 44 year old memory. He was afraid he might be wrong, so he waffled. In the process he made himself look bad. I feel a little sorry for Mitt Romney. He was right, but when confronted with a poorly reported story asserting he was wrong he didn't have the courage of his convictions. Don't we need a president who is a little more self assured?