Thursday, December 20, 2007
Did Romney Lie?
--Roland Martin, CNN Commentator

Did Romney lie about his dad marching with Dr. King?

In golf, this time of the year is called the silly season because of the thousands of dollars players can earn for tournaments that don't count. And with the presidential primaries nearing, it's also the silly time for politicians to offer up thousands of ways to stretch, bend and twist the truth to score political points. And in former Gov. Mitt Romney's case, it appears flat out lie.

During an interview on "Meet the Press," Romney told Tim Russert that his dad marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Another time he said he actually saw his dad march with Dr. King. So, the Detroit Free Press checked his story out and what did they discover? Romney was flat out wrong.

"Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he watched his father, the late Michigan Gov. George Romney, in a 1960s civil rights march in Michigan with Martin Luther King Jr.," the paper wrote. "On Wednesday, Romney's campaign said his recollections of watching his father, an ardent civil rights supporter, march with King were meant to be figurative." "He was speaking figuratively, not literally," Eric Fehrnstrom, spokesman for the Romney campaign, said of the candidate.

Wait? Figuratively? How does someone march figuratively? You either put your feet on the pavement and hit the streets or you don't. The Free Press continued: "Romney's campaign cited various historical articles, as well as a 1967 book written by Stephen Hess and Washington Post political columnist David Broder, as confirmation that George Romney marched with King in Grosse Pointe in 1963.

"He has marched with Martin Luther King through the exclusive Grosse Pointe suburb," Hess and Broder wrote in "The Republican Establishment: The Present and Future of the GOP." Free Press archives, however, showed no record of King marching in Grosse Pointe in 1963 or of then-Gov. Romney taking part in King's historic march down Woodward Avenue in June of that year.

"George Romney told the Free Press at the time that he didn't take part because it was on a Sunday and he avoided public appearances on the Sabbath because of his religion.
"Romney did participate in a civil rights march protesting housing bias in Grosse Pointe just six days after the King march. According to the Free Press account, however, King was not there."

Is this a big deal? Compared to the Iraq War? No. But it does speak to truthfulness and the ability of a candidate to speak candidly. What do I think Romney was doing? Trying to score some political points by showing his commitment to civil rights by virtue of his dad. Politicians are always trying to link themselves with King because he is such an iconic figure. They see it as bolstering their bonafides, especially when trying to appeal to African-Americans. But to claim he marched when he didn't? That's like claiming you attended the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom when you were just passing through the DC airport.

Mitt, do all of us a favor and stop lying. Correct the facts and move on. And fire that idiot of a spokesman who doesn't know the difference between actual marching and visualizing a march.
Posted By CNN: 8:02 PM ET
  12 Comments
Did CNN just call Mr Romney's spokesperson an idiot? How civil we all are today..
Actually, nothing surprises me about both the Democrat and Republican candidates. Neither party in my opinion, holds the moral highground as far as resume padding and creative recollections of the past. That's sad right there.

Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif
Posted By Blogger Lorie Ann : 8:43 PM ET
It should be apparent Mitt Romney will say and do anything to become President, and that includes flip flopping on every issue he's ever taken a position on, so lying about his father marching with Martin Luther King doesn't surprise me.

His constant flip flopping and stretching of the truth tells us just what kind of President Mitt Romney would be.

Can we afford to elect another President who can lie so easily to the American people?
Posted By Anonymous Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 9:00 PM ET
Dear Mr. Martin:
Thank you for bringing this lie to light concerning Mitt Romney.

America doesn't need another president that is a liar or one that S-T-R-E-T-H-C-E-S the truth.

Lying about something so critical to American history is pathetic. He owes an explanation to everyone who DID march with Martin Luther King, Jr.
Posted By Blogger Sharon from Indy : 9:25 PM ET
Is Romney's own record on civil rights so sparse that all he's able to do is latch onto some vague and apparently false memory of his father participating in an MLK march? Actually, I'm not really that surprised.
Posted By Anonymous Fay, Vacaville, CA : 9:40 PM ET
AC asked who does that remind you of?
Perhaps Mitt Romney is thinking of how Joseph Smith "saw" tablets of gold in his first vision.
The founder of the Church of Jesus Christ, Latter Day Saints (Mormons), Joseph Smith, claimed to have seen tablets of gold from which he translated the Book of Mormon. When Mormons are asked why these tablets of gold have never been seen by anyone else, Mormons explain that Mr. Smith "saw" with his spiritual eyes, not his physical eyes.
Posted By Anonymous rdavew : 11:16 PM ET
Had the comment been true it would have been commendable. Having lied about it calls into question his honesty and character - I sure don't want any more liars in the White House. So this lie or visualization or whatever you want to call it probably cost him more than it would have gained him had it been true.

I did like the comparison of Romney's explanation with Clinton's definition of the word "is". Seemed right on target.

Annie Kate
Birmingham AL
Posted By Blogger Annie Kate : 11:17 PM ET
I just can't stop laughing after watching the piece on AC360 tonight. As soon as I saw Romney's answer, I thought "It depends on what the meaning of 'is' is." And thank you AC... playing the actual clip of Clinton was priceless.

If you thought the GOP was rough with Kerry on flip-flopping, wait to see what the Democrats will do to Romney if he is the nominee.
Posted By Anonymous Sam : 11:34 PM ET
Well, the five Romney sons can definitely say, "I saw my father lie on television" and they won't even have to qualify that statement by offering us Webster's definition of the word "saw."
Posted By Anonymous Michele Jackson, Northridge, CA : 12:27 AM ET
If Romney would have been a democratic president he would have been impeached for that...
Posted By Anonymous Christian Maier, Germany : 5:31 AM ET
This is one person's word against another. There ought to be an independent authority to confirm. Since Gov Romney, Sr. can no longer be interviewed, how can Mr. Martin call someone a liar without due consideration? Is Mr. Martin searching for some reason to doubt Mitt Romney's credibility? In other words, does he have an axe to grind...
Posted By Anonymous Laura - Tulsa OK : 10:09 AM ET
If we do not want a liar in the White House, we need to move all Presidents to a new home. All politicians lie...it is called politics and it is a game. Read the book 'Zero Sum Society' (required collegiate political science reading) and you will learn the game: some one has to win, some one has to lose. Be the winner. It does not give instructions on how to get to the winning point, rather it advises that you just have to make yourself the winner.
Oh, and it has nothing to do with being a Mormon. Most people are ignorant of the history meaning of the Mormon Church. Learn about it from a source other than your minister, books such as 'The Godmakers'. Studying on anything that we know nothing about (except in our own biased minds) is healthy and SMART. No lie!!!
Posted By Blogger Sandra Giseburt : 12:22 PM ET
Gov. Mitt Romney may be figuratively correct that his father was a supporter of civil rights. Children have a need to mythologize about their parents. I would not accuse Gov. George Romney of racism but he was, I believe, insensitive.

I worked at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) when George Romney was Secretary (1969-1972). At that time Secretary Romney refused to negotiate with African-American (then "Black") workers at HUD regarding working conditions and advancement opportunities which were not available.

One time he (George) even ran down nine flights of stairs to avoid dealing with Black leaders.

JayT
Washington, DC
Posted By Anonymous Jay T. : 6:09 PM ET
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