Mitt Romney, high-school bully


First, allow me to give you the following charming news story, in its (mostly) entirety, from the Washington Post:


Mitt Romney returned from a three-week spring break in 1965 to resume his studies as a high school senior at the prestigious Cranbrook School. Back on the handsome campus, studded with Tudor brick buildings and manicured fields, he spotted something he thought did not belong at a school where the boys wore ties and carried briefcases. John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.

“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.


The incident was recalled similarly by five students, who gave their accounts independently of one another. Four of them — Friedemann, now a dentist; Phillip Maxwell, a lawyer; Thomas Buford, a retired prosecutor; and David Seed, a retired principal — spoke on the record. Another former student who witnessed the incident asked not to be identified. The men have differing political affiliations, although they mostly lean Democratic. Buford volunteered for Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008. Seed, a registered independent, has served as a Republican county chairman in Michigan. All of them said that politics in no way colored their recollections.


“It happened very quickly, and to this day it troubles me,” said Buford, the school’s wrestling champion, who said he joined Romney in restraining Lauber. Buford subsequently apologized to Lauber, who was “terrified,” he said. “What a senseless, stupid, idiotic thing to do.”


“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.”


“He was just easy pickin’s,” said Friedemann, then the student prefect, or student authority leader of Stevens Hall, expressing remorse about his failure to stop it.


The incident transpired in a flash, and Friedemann said Romney then led his cheering schoolmates back to his bay-windowed room in Stevens Hall.


Friedemann, guilt ridden, made a point of not talking about it with his friend and waited to see what form of discipline would befall Romney at the famously strict institution. Nothing happened.


Romney is now the presumed Republican presidential nominee. His campaign spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, said in a statement that “anyone who knows Mitt Romney knows that he doesn’t have a mean-spirited bone in his body. The stories of fifty years ago seem exaggerated and off base and Governor Romney has no memory of participating in these incidents.”


Some essay questions:

·       Do you believe Mitt Romney when he says he doesn’t remember this incident?

·       Do you think it matters?

·       If he does remember it, and is lying about it, do you think it matters even more ?

·       Do you remember your high-school years?

·       In particular, do you remember what you did in your senior year?

·       Again: do you believe Mitt Romney when he says he doesn’t remember this?

·       Are you as repulsed as I am when his spokesperson says “these stories seem exaggerated,” when they’re corroborated by five different people, some of whom have apologized to the victim?

·       For whom are you voting in November?



About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

10 Responses to Mitt Romney, high-school bully

  1. I shudder to think.

  2. dannyibd says:

    I do’nt belive.

    • Well, here’s the thing. I wasn’t there, and you werent’t there, that’s true.

      But five people who were there at the time have given testimony that it’s true.

      So who cares what you think about what you believe?

      Also, you punctuated your comment incorrectly.

      So huh.

    • rabbittandwolf says:

      I suggest researching it if you are unsure

      • The Washington Post article was very well-reasearched; the victim has since passed away, but at least four other students were there with Romney, and describe the scene in the same way. The only person who can’t quite remember it is Romney himself.

      • rabbittandwolf says:

        Of course he doesn’t remember it!

  3. rabbittandwolf says:

    I’m not surprised by this story if it is true.

  4. lisaleaks says:

    No. I don’t believe Mitt Romeny.
    Yes. I remember my senior year and so does he. A-hole!
    MSM could have really run with this story, and should have! With all the attention on bullying, gay issues, etc. They really dropped the ball.

    I clearly remember a cruel joke some kids played in high school, I admit, I had a hand in it too. We had this really great English Lit. teacher, Mr Wilkes.
    He opened our minds to literature, critical thinking, dialogs none of us had ever been exposed too.
    Just when we finished reading Lord of Flies, there was a sudden decline in his good nature, understandably, because his wife just up and left him. He was taking out his anger and frustration on his students, so we thought of an interesting way to snap him out of his foul mood by playing a prank.
    FFA was really big at my school, and so was slaughtering, as it just so happens, it was that time of year.

    Keep in mind, Lord of the Flies here. Remember Piggy?

    Some of the boys got a pig head, yes, a real one, fastened it to a poll, then propped it up on Mr. Wilkes chair where his jacket hung. We dressed ourselves very primitively, mud on our face and arms, hair, and when he returned from lunch, we were all there to greet him, chanting, stomping, howling, dancing around a small fire we made in the center of our classroom.
    Sadly, he didn’t appreciate our attempt to bring him back to the analytical, creative, critical, challenging man we knew and loved!
    We honestly thought he would see the humor, the exorcism we were trying to invoke.
    We wanted our teacher back!

    He flipped out and resigned the next day 😦

    • We all of us, I think, were horrible kids at one time or another. I committed my atrocities too; I was a mean nasty little bastard, and specialized in small cruelties, which still embarrass me when I think about them.

      But I absolutely remember them.

      And for Mitt Romney to deny a story that’s so well-documented – well, it’s just stupid.

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