published Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Mitt Romney's bullying was no prank

One of Mitt Romney's prep school classmates, Phillip Maxwell, described in a Washington Post story published Thursday how Romney led him and a few other boys on a hunt for an effeminate classmate, John Lauber, who was believed to be gay. When they found him, Maxwell told the Post, Romney, wielding a pair of scissors, had his friends hold down Lauber while he used the scissors to clip off clumps of the terrified boy's long blonde hair.

"It all happened very quickly," said Maxwell, now a Michigan lawyer. "It was like a pack of dogs," he said. "It was vicious."

Romney said on Thursday that he "didn't remember" all the "hijinks and pranks" he engaged in at Cranbrook, a private high school. But if this happened, he said, "why, I'm afraid I've got to say sorry for it."

That hardly resolved the account of his bullying. In a follow-up interview with CBS, Maxwell said:

"Mitt was a prankster, there's no doubt about it. This thing with Lauber wasn't a prank. This was, well, as a lawyer, it was an assault. It was assault and battery. And I'm sure that John (now deceased) carried it with him for the rest of his life."

"I've carried this story with me a long time. It was very disturbing. I think that view is shared by everyone involved in it," Maxwell said. "It was just a black mark on my character that I didn't stop it."

Four other classmates at the private Cranbrook School where the bullying assault occurred also confirmed the story to the Post, with much the same sentiment as Maxwell.

One of them told ABC News that Romney's conduct in the Cranbrook dormitories was "evil," like something out of "The Lord of the Flies." Citing the others who remembered the attack on Lauber, he said Romney's claim that he didn't remember it "doesn't ring true. How could the fellow with the scissors forget it?" he asked.

That's a credible question given accounts of witnesses and Romney's gaps in his memories of "hijinks." Though the labels then were more offensive, guys believed to be gays in 1960s -- Romney, 65, would have graduated from Cranbrook about 1965 -- were often haunted by threatening behavior, and beatings were not uncommon. Most male students in high schools in that era would readily attest to that.

The irony of Romney's foggy memory of that era undercuts his more reasonable claim that he has changed a lot as adult. In fact, he openly employed gays at Bain Capital, where he made his millions. As governor of Massachusetts, both his political campaign director, Jonathan Spampinato, and his secretary of transportation were openly gay. Yet now he is running away from his acceptance of gays.

Romney, for example, recently hired a foreign policy expert and former Bush administration NATO spokesman, Richard Grenell, as his campaign's foreign policy director, even though he knew Grenell to be an outspoken advocate of gay marriage. Unfortunately, as soon as evangelicals began attacking his hire of gay Grenell, Romney shut down Grenell's debut in a foreign policy teleconference at the end of April, prompting Grenell to resign.

This week, he went full-bore against gays again, attacking President Obama for saying he had come around to believing that gay couples should be allowed to marry as a matter of fairness. Romney went on to say that he also does not support civil unions, which many states have adopted to convey the legal rights of committed relationships in lieu of marriage.

Having flip-flopped on health care reform, tax equality, immigration policy and so many other issues, it is doubly troubling to see Romney flip-flopping twice on persecution of gays -- once as a high school bully, and now -- after having employed gays as high level advisers in government affairs -- as an adversary against their civil rights. It may not be his memory that is so blank about his attack against Lauber: It is more likely his conscience.

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.

Mitt Romney yesterday is no clue to who he is today, except that is itself a clue.

Still, I find his apparent apology to be lacking in admission of wrongness.

May 12, 2012 at 12:21 a.m.
joneses said...

Do you pathetic fools actually think the voting public cares about a childish incident that happened almost 50 years ago? Are you people that stupid? Do you think the public cares about obutthead bullying a little girl when he was younger by pushing her down? Obutthead admitted this happened and the only proof you have that Romney did this is from some fool you dummycrasts pulled from your baseless attack pool of fools. Are you so blind to all of obuttheads failures that you think this crap warrants attention? How pathetic and disgusting dummycrat/liberal politics has become.

May 12, 2012 at 6:57 a.m.
joneses said...

I wonder if obutthead ate the dog he admitted he consumed or ate the dog after he pushed the defenseless little girl. I cannot believe anyone would vote for a dog eating, child abuser for president.

"In Dreams, coauthored by Bill Ayers and obutthead, Obutthead reflects on his own first days at his Hawaiian prep school, a transition complicated by the presence of 10 year old "Coretta," the only other black student in the class. When the other students accuse Obama of having a girlfriend, Obutthead shoves Coretta and insists that she leave him alone."

I cannot believe obutthead would do something so terrible. He should apologize.

May 12, 2012 at 7:09 a.m.
conservative said...

You think this Lieberal writer and other Lieberal sycophants might be trying to get voters minds off their unemployment, high gas and food prices and the poor Obamination economy in general?

May 12, 2012 at 8:25 a.m.
librul said...

Mitt Romney is burnt toast with thinking voters. Only the most crass and arrogant idologues are still openly supporting him and their "commentaries" are typically childish taunts aimed at Mr. Obama like the idiocy that Joneses serves up because they, and the Republican Party, have NOTHING to offer as solutions and workable programs for the country. They hate independent women, they hate the poor, they hate the infirm, they hate the veteran, they hate ANYTHING that the government does out of compassion for our people, they hate ANYTHING that the government does to protect our life-giving environment from their greed - ESPECIALLY if it involves constraints on predatory capitalism and its land raping corporations. There are no jobs on a dead planet but the Republicans would kill it for a buck and a nickel. Real Americans know this. Real Americans want rid of them and real Americans are ready to stomp a mudhole in the Tea Party that was created by and fronts for the billionaire draculas they serve like Pavlovian dogs.

Mr. Obama's corporatism and his failures to follow through on the things our people wanted in the runup to the last presidential election - things he SAID he would do, have certainly cooled his support among many - but vote for ROMNEY????, not a shadow of a shadow of a chance.

May 12, 2012 at 9:42 a.m.
nbenefiel said...

Mitt Romney is and was a bully. He not only assaulted kids he thought were gay, he deliberately led a blind teacher into a closed door and fell to the ground laughing. He showed in his interview the other day that he still finds these actions amusing. He couldn't control his laughter. He may find abuse funny. I don't. I think it's mean and that the last thing we need in this country is a mean president. So you right wingers can mispell liberal, Obama, and Democrat in any rude juvenile manner you choose it doesn't change the facts. "I love firing people" says Romney. 'nuff said

May 12, 2012 at 11:06 a.m.
librul said...

Sara Robinson give these cretins some good reading in this piece - she really nails them:

"How the Ayn Rand-Loving Right Is Like a Bunch of Teen Boys Gone Crazy"

May 12, 2012 at 11:13 a.m.
jesse said...

i have had no regard for either obama nor romney and had planed to sit out this election! with this i now plan to git off my duff and vote for obama! romney's actions as a teen and his inability to connect w/ people,his seeming disregard for anything other than his own ambition is starting to smell like sociopath to me!

May 12, 2012 at 11:31 a.m.
Livn4life said...

And this baloney goes on even though the family of that "victim" did not remember this incident and futhermore indicated he would be incensed that it is being used to further a political agenda. Why not be concerned that our sitting president, admittedly drank heavily and used illegal drugs while in college? Oh when it's a liberal boys will be boys. What a sham and a shame our mainstream media is and to put all the hate on FOX. Almost funny, but it's not. And who is it flip-flopping on issues such as gay marriage? Oh, shame on me it's the lib who can do that with a pass every time. When will we ever learn? When will we ever learn?

May 12, 2012 at 12:16 p.m.
librul said...

Wow - interesting that conservatives would conflate common personal experimentation with attempts to attack, demean, and injure OTHERS which, to me, are not equivalent in any sense.

Thinking back, our needless warmaking in Iraq with sneering Dick Cheney and his gang of torturers cheered on by little George W., who admitted that he stuffed firecrackers down the throats of frogs for amusement, now seem to snap into much clearer focus.

Romney must have had no more personality and warmth as a teenager than he does as an adult to have to have engaged in such repulsive behavior for social validation as he has tried to pass off and justify as "teenage hijinks." Won't fly, Mitt.

May 12, 2012 at 1:17 p.m.
Rtazmann said...


May 12, 2012 at 7:01 p.m.
Rtazmann said...


May 12, 2012 at 7:23 p.m.
Hilltopp said...

Rolling someone's yard is a prank. This incident was then and is now, an assault.

People can change, but to not remember suggests denial or so many he can't remember one from another.

May 13, 2012 at 12:49 p.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »


Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.