Saturday, December 22, 2007

Back To The Figurative Drawing Board

Via Frank Lockwood at Bible Belt Blogger comes this article in the Boston Phoenix which definitively debunks the claim that Mitt Romney's father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, marched with Dr. Martin Luther King in Detroit in 1963:

On Sunday, June 23, 1963, 125,000 people marched down Detroit's Woodward Avenue to the Civic Center, in what was described at the time as the largest civil-rights demonstration in the nation's history. According to the next day's account in the Holland Evening Sentinel , the crowd at the Center "lustily booed," when representatives of Governor George W. Romney read a proclamation declaring "Freedom March Day in Michigan."

But Martin Luther King Jr. didn't fault Romney for his absence, which the governor ascribed to his policy against public appearances on the Sabbath. "At a news conference following the march... [King] refused to criticize Romney for not attending the demonstration," the Sentinel reported.

The most unfortunate consequence of Mitt Romney's lying about his father's historical record is that it ends up diminishing its significance. Here's Clayborne Carson, director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project at Stanford University, also quoted in the Phoenix article:

"Issuing the proclamation, and sending his personal representatives, was probably more than 49 other governors would have been willing to do at that time...It took considerable courage."

There was a brief moment where it appeared that Mitt Romney had tried to explain away his "figurative" use of the expression "I saw my father march with MLK" too early. It's now clear that he did so because he knew he'd been caught telling a whopper.

Posted by Judah in:  Politics   

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