It would hardly seem fair to judge a 65-year-old man for the shameful things he did in high school, as long as he also regarded them with shame. That doesn't seem to be the case with Mitt Romney.
Confronted this week by a Washington Post article in which five classmates independently recounted how he led them in an attack on a gay classmate in the 1960s, Romney did not do several things.
He did not say he remembered the incident with horror. He did not say he doesn't remember the incident, but that bullying must not be tolerated and that vulnerable students everywhere should know he stands with them. Instead, Romney did what he seems to do best in tight spots: He hedged.
“Back in high school, I did some dumb things and if anybody was hurt by that or offended, obviously I apologize for that,” Mr. Romney said. “I participated in a lot of high jinks and pranks during high school and some might have gone too far and for that, I apologize.”
The "dumb thing" in question was an incident in which he and his friends pinned down a misfit kid who was presumed to be gay. As the boy cried, Romney cut off his hair. Romney's fellow bullies told the Washington Post that the "vicious" attack on a classmate considered "easy pickins" has haunted them ever since. Romney says he doesn't remember it.
Maybe that’s true (a;though it seems doubtful). But according to a classmate who apologized to the victim years later, the terrifying memory stuck with him long into adulthood.
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