Once a Bully, Always a Bully? The Issue With Mitt Romney’s Past & Present

May 15, 2012  |  

While President Obama was solidifying his support of the  LGBT community’s quest for equal rights including the right to marry, his opponent was raising eyebrows over allegations of aggressive behavior with a former gay classmate.

Mormon millionaire and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, has been accused of bullying a former classmate, who just so happened to be gay.  The incident allegedly took place at the prestigious boarding Cranbrook School, where Romney attended high school.

According to the Washington Post, Romney, then a senior, 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 said.

A few days later, Romney allegedly lead a briefcase-carrying posse into Lauber’s room, tackled and pinned him to the ground and cut his hair with a pair of scissors as Lauber, cried and screamed for help.  While originally thought as an isolated incident, another former (and anonymous) high-school classmate of Romney’s has stepped forward to claim that other fellow students have “really negative memories” of the Republican presidential candidate, and that his behavior during those years bordered on the lines of “Lord of the Flies.”

This has set off a firestorm of controversy in which many folks are questioning whether or not this story is an indication of the man Romney is today. And in an interview with Fox Radio, Romney laughed off the incident saying that he didn’t remember it happening and didn’t know the kid was gay. He did admit to participating in a lot of “hijinks and pranks” during his time at the boarding school. He also apologized, well he kind of apologized: “…and if anybody was hurt by that or offended by it, obviously I apologize.”  Obviously.

Yet it was the ’60’s and a half-century later, we can all assume that he has grown beyond his formative years. I mean, he went on graduate college, recommitted himself to his Mormon faith, got married and raised a boatload of children. He also founded a successful business and ran a state. Lots of people are pretty horrible as teenagers. And surely a mistake we made when we were young – when we are still trying to decipher between what’s right and what’s wrong – should not have any bearing on what kind of person we are today.

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