‘Atta girl’: Romney says sorry for bullying gay Cranbrook schoolmate

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigns in Michigan.

Mitt Romney apologized today for high school pranks that may have pushed the boundaries into bullying, including an incident where he led a group of young men in pushing down a screaming fellow student who frequently was taunted about his suspected homosexuality.

“Back in high school, I did some dumb things and if anybody was hurt by that or offended, obviously I apologize,” the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said in an interview on Fox News Radio today.

An article published today by the Washington Post detailed the incident, saying the student, John Lauber, was often teased because others presumed he was gay. It attributed accounts of the group shoving him and cutting his long blond hair to five fellow students at the all-boys private Cranbrook School in Michigan. One of the students called the attack “vicious.”

The Post reported that another student, Gary Hummel, a closeted gay at the time, said his efforts to speak in class were punctuated by shouts of “Atta Girl” from Romney.

Romney, 65, said he didn’t remember either incident.

“I certainly don’t believe that I thought the fellow was homosexual,” he said of Lauber. “That was the furthest thing from our minds back in the 1960s, so that was not the case.”

Romney graduated from the school in 1965.

The account comes amid a national conversation about gay rights, after President Barack Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage in an interview with ABC News yesterday. Romney opposes gay marriage and says domestic partnership rights should be determined by individual states.

The Post story is receiving attention on social networking sites including Twitter and is being spotlighted by a website called the New Civil Rights Movement that is popular with gays.

The words “Romney” and “bully” were both included in about 13 Twitter messages per minute today, according to TweetCharts.com, a website that tracks traffic.

The Post quoted fellow students and a former girlfriend who described Romney as an industrious leader in the elite school, where children from the state’s wealthiest families ate in a chandeliered dining room and studied in reading rooms decorated with frescoes and marble friezes. Romney attended the school while his father, George, headed American Motors Co. and while he served as governor of the state.

Romney said marrying his wife, Ann, whom he met while at Cranbrook, and going on a Mormon mission in France changed him into a “very different person.”

Preferring the campaign to focus on bigger issues facing the country, including the economy, energy, and Iran’s nuclear development, Romney questioned how much of a candidate’s background is fair game in an election, given that the incidents in question happened close to 50 years ago.

“There’s going to be some that want to talk about high school,” the former Massachusetts governor said. “Well, if you really think that’s important, be my guest.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor reveals new tech hub Digital.NYC

Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed Digital.NYC on Wednesday, a new online platform aimed at connecting all things tech in New York City. The public-private partnership…

Local

Falling debris hits two men in Times Square

Two men were taken to the hospital Wednesday morning after being hit by falling debris from 110 feet above Times Square. Nancy Greco from the…

Local

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough accused of misusing campaign…

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough has been indicted on state and federal charges for allegedly withdrawing campaign funds as cash for personal use. Scarborough, a Democrat…

News

U.S. Secret Service director Pierson resigns under fire

U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned under fire on Wednesday after a series of security lapses came to light.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, Oct. 1: 'Criminal Minds,'…

The "Criminal Minds" team adds some supernatural assistance, as the "Ghost Whisperer" herself, Jennifer Love Hewitt, joins the show. She's playing an FBI agent, but you never know when someone…

Music

See the most popular Pandora station in your…

Who knew Bachata music was so popular?

The Word

The Word: Twilight just won't die

You thought our "Twilight" days were behind us, didn't you? Well think again. Series creator Stephenie Meyer (who would rather you not ask about "Twilight"…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

NFL

Rex Ryan fields more questions about Geno Smith,…

The idea Geno Smith will be replaced by backup Michael Vick appears to be all smoke, as the Jets are intent to ride with their second-round draft pick.

NFL

Will Beatty playing like franchise left tackle again…

Left tackle Will Beatty, who is the elder-statesman of Giants’ line, has turned around his season and become a consistent force on Manning’s blindside.

NFL

John Conner back with Jets for second stint

He'll be back. It's "Terminator 2" for the Jets, who brought back John Conner to the team on Tuesday after placing fullback Tommy Bohanon on…

NFL

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry…

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry Donnell will stay solid

Career

Creating a support system for minority women in…

When Kathryn Finney founded digitalundivided — an organization devoted to engaging minority communities with the tech world — she didn’t know quite what to expect.…

Sex

We can learn a lot from animals about…

There’s a lot we can learn about love from the birds and the bees — and the chickens, monkeys and squirrels that we share the…

Style

Saint Laurent

Our review of the Saint Laurent Spring '15 show at Paris Fashion Week.

Style

Céline: Paris Fashion Week Spring 2015

Our review of the Celine Spring '15 show during Paris Fashion Week.