Since yesterday's Washington Post profile of a prep school-aged Mitt Romney showing the presumed Republican presidential nominee terrifying a kid everyone thought was gay, conservative outlets have been scrambling for another perspective on young Romney. They've found it in a softball piece on Romney from Automobile Magazine, that other great source of American political news.
When Romney was in prep school at the "prestigious Cranbrook School" he reportedly picked on some kid who may have been gay and definitely had bleached blonde hair. Here's the key part:
"He can't look like that. That's wrong. Just look at him!" an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann's recollection. Mitt, the teenage son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber's look, Friedemann recalled.
A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school's collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber's hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors
Romney has sort of acknowledged/apologized for any vague "dumb… stupid" things he did in high school. Youthful indiscretions and all that.
The conservative press refuses to let the darn liberal media get away with anything, so right-wing media watchdog at Breitbart's Big Journalism has found its proof that the Post is full of it in David Murray's Automobile profile of a young Romney that doesn't make him look like the bad guy from Better Off Dead.
The WaPo article focuses on the alleged John Lauber haircutting incident, including quotes from Romney childhood friend Phillip Maxwell: "'It was a hack job,' recalled Maxwell, a childhood friend of Romney who was in the dorm room when the incident occurred. ‘It was vicious.'"
Apparently not so vicious, however, for Maxwell to relate the incident for the Auto Mag article. Auto Mag does, however, quote Maxwell giving crucial details notably missing from the Post piece: "'I'm a Democrat, so I won't vote for him,' says Maxwell. 'But he'd probably make a pretty good President. He's very smart, very principled.'"
The Post neglected to mention these relevant facts, just as it neglected to mention Maxwell's skepticism about Romney's religion as reported in the Auto Mag piece: "‘He's determined to claim the highest office in the land—to be the first Mormon to do it. He keeps that undercover because he doesn't want to frighten people.'"
This isn't a contradiction at all, of course, as you could make a good president and still be kind of a dick to some kids in high school. You can also be a Democrat and be a truthful eyewitness.
Automobile's piece doesn't contradict anything because it doesn't really say anything. It's not bad, it's just about as edgy as a 1998 Ford Taurus. We learn Mitt Romney liked his father, was kind of boring, and people generally got along with him. The only serious claim against him in the magazine is that he's not really a Detroiter. Not a car guy. But then they give him a break for that.
Mitt Romney may be from the golden age of Detroit and the car industry, but it must be clear by now that he is no longer of that wonderful time and place. Then again, these days, what is?
The Post's readers may view Romney as a bit of a prick in high school, but those 533,000 "Auto Mag" subscribers will know the truth.