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Romney denies bullying gay students in high school

Mitt Romney countered the notion that he was a bully in high school and insisted he did not know some of his classmates were gay. The presumed Republican presidential candidate said he was sorry if his “hijinks and pranks during high school” offended other students.

His response and apology came during a quickly arranged radio interview in response to a Washington Post story that said he held down a classmate in high school and cut off his bleached blonde hair. The two students were classmates at a prestigious boarding school in the wealthy Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

The Post suggested John Lauber was bullied by Romney because he was gay.

“The people involved didn’t come out of the closet until years later,” Romney told a Fox News radio show. “I had no idea that this person might have been gay… I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school and some may have gone too far. And for that I apologize.”

The report and Romney’s defensive remarks are surfacing as his inconsistent record on gay rights is coming under fire following President Barack Obama’s approval of gay marriage. While he defended some gay rights when he was governor of Massachusetts, he was a leading voice in opposition of gay marriage.

The report quotes five of Romney’s former classmates who all recount the encounter with Lauber, who had long, bleached hair. Romney led a group of students who tackled Lauber and cut off his hair as Lauber’s eyes were “filling with tears,” according to the Post report.

The paper also told of other incidents, such as when Romney shouted “atta girl” at a student who later came out as gay.

When asked about Lauber during the radio interview, Romney said, “I don’t remember that incident. I certainly don’t believe that I thought the fellow was homosexual. That was the furthest thing from our minds back in the 1960s.”

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4 Comments

  1. For me, many things that I thought and did in high school are completely opposite of who I am today, thirteen years post high school graduation. I'm still the same person at the core, and I think that's a pretty rare thing to change. My views on things, though, have changed a great deal!

    I've never had a problem with anyone being homosexual. As an adolescent, I thought of it as, and can remember describing it MANY times as "a sexual sin. Just like adultery or fornication. You don't freak out and leave the room because you're breathing the same air as someone who has committed adultery or fornicated, even if you disapprove of it."

    Now, I no longer feel that way. At the time, I was operating under the mistaken impression that LIKE adultery and fornication, homosexuality is a choice. But even then, it never freaked me out.

    My thoughts/ views/ opinions on such things have changed quite a bit through my twenties, and Mitt Romney has clearly had much MORE time to change. However, if Lauber is telling the truth and Romney DID do something a horrid and possibly life-altering (for Lauber) and Romney doesn't even REMEMBER it, that's scary. One would then almost be FORCED to speculate, "What other MORE horrific things has he done in his life that he doesn't remember that?" If THAT is the case, then his past is certainly relevant. IF, however, he's just tried to do so much good and leave the past behind him and THAT is the reason he doesn't remember, then I'd say his past is irrelevant. Only Romney himself can know that for sure.

    Either way, he won't be getting MY vote in November!

  2. Oh please, even if you don't disapprove of what he did in high school, for any Presidential candidate to say he doesn't remember something so severe means he either is suffering from alzheimer's, is a bold-faced liar, or was such a persistent chronic bully that this was merely one of the many cruel acts he performed. In any case if you would support any of these explanations I would find it hard to believe you could call yourself Christian-like or impartial.

    Paul Harris
    Author, "Diary From the Dome, Reflections on Fear and Privilege During Katrina".

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