It All Depends On What The Meaning Of The Word “With” Is…

December 20th, 2007at 07:00pm Posted by Eli

Or “saw.” Or “march.” Or possibly “my.”

Mitt Romney will stop at nothing to score political points. Even if it means lying outright about his father.

I saw my father march with Martin Luther King.

Uh huh.

He made a similar statement Sunday during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He said, “You can see what I believed and what my family believed by looking at our lives. My dad marched with Martin Luther King. My mom was a tireless crusader for civil rights.”

Right. Got it — dad marched with MLK. Even David Broder says so, and supplies some corroborative detail intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative….

As Mitt Romney recalled in his address, his father was able to remind people that he had marched with Martin Luther King Jr. (through upscale Grosse Pointe, Mich., in support of open-housing legislation).

Problem is, it’s not true. None of it. As the Phoenix’s David Bernstein reveals (see also update here) in some superb digging, George Romney never marched “with” — i.e., in the presence of, at the same place at the same time — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here’s Bernstein, who in addition to calling out Romney, calls out Broder:

[W]hile the late George W. Romney, a four-term governor of Michigan, can lay claim to a strong record on civil rights, the Phoenix can find no evidence that the senior Romney actually marched with King, nor anything in the public record suggesting that he ever claimed to do so. Nor did Mitt Romney ever previously claim that this took place, until long after his father passed away in 1995 – not even when defending accusations of the Mormon church’s discriminatory past during his 1994 Senate campaign.Asked about the specifics of George Romney’s march with MLK, Mitt Romney’s campaign told the Phoenix that it took place in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. That jibes with the description proffered by David S. Broder in a Washington Post column written days after Mitt’s College Station speech.

(…)

But that account is incorrect. King never marched in Grosse Pointe, according to the Grosse Pointe Historical Society, and had not appeared in the town at all at the time the Broder book was published. “I’m quite certain of that,” says Suzy Berschback, curator of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society….

Faced with the unfortunate reality that Mitt was making things up, his campaign has retreated into a hilarious Humpty-Dumptyism about what it means to “march with” someone. You see, it doesn’t mean that you were actually there. It means that, well, you participated in a march about a related topic on a different day, and maybe you thought about the guy while you were doing it.

Mitt, in other words, was “speaking figuratively, not literally.”

I am not making this up. Apparently, it’s all about what the meaning of “with” is. Can you believe that, after Bill Clinton’s debacle over the meaning of the word “is,” another political figure would try something like that?

Ah, but it gets even worse, if you can imagine that:

Romney: “My own eyes? You know, I speak in the sense of I saw my dad become president of American Motors. I wasn’t actually there when he became president of American Motors, but I saw him in the figurative sense of he marched with Martin Luther King. My brother also remembers him marching with Martin Luther King and so in that sense I saw him march with Martin Luther King.”

(…)

He added, “You know, I’m an English literature major as well. When we say, I saw the Patriots win the World Series, it doesn’t necessarily mean you were there – excuse me, the Super Bowl. I saw my dad become president of American Motors. Did that mean you were there for the ceremony? No, it’s a figure of speech.”

I weep for the state of English literature. And New English sports fandom.

Entry Filed under: Elections,Republicans,Romney

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  • 1. Multi Medium » Feel&hellip  |  December 20th, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    […] those of you who just can’t get enough Romney, WaPo had an online chat with his son Tagg, who is every bit as delightful as you might expect.  […]


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