--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
"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.