‘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

Drive charged in fatal hit and run, police…

The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for a fatal hit and run in Manhattan last weekend. Doohee Cho, 33, was hit…

Local

Mayor de Blasio raises minimum wage for some…

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Tuesday morning that will raise the minimum wage for workers employed by private companies that receive more…

National

3 myths about the working poor

Linda Tirado works to debunk some common stereotypes about the working poor in her new book, "Hand to Mouth."

Money

Lawsuit funding advances: friend or foe?

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Many plaintiffs awaiting resolution of their lawsuit or legal claim often find themselves in a tricky financial…

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…

Entertainment

Interview: Metro chats with filmmaker Meir Kalmanson, man…

A New York filmmaker hands out smiles to its residents.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 30: 'Selfie,' 'Utopia'…

'Selfie' This modern day take on the "My Fair Lady" story stars John Cho in the Henry Higgins role. Perhaps instead of "the rain in…

Music

Can't-miss weekend events continue to attract the masses

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Earlier this summer, the Firefly Music Festival drew crowds of tens of thousands of people to Dover, Delaware.…

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL

Ryan Quigley making a big impact for Jets…

Ryan Quigley, now in his second year as the Jets punter, had an exceptional afternoon with six punts for an average of 51.7 yards per punt.

NFL

3 positives to take from Jets loss to…

The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that…

MLB

Joe Girardi not confident David Robertson will return…

David Robertson was as seamless as anyone could be replacing Mariano Rivera as he converted 39 saves, with a 3.08 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings.

Style

Products that support breast cancer awareness and research

Asics GT-1000, $100 Asics’ third pink collection in collaboration with Christina Applegate’s Right Action for Women includes this pink-accented version of its best-selling GT-1000 3…

Wellbeing

Bees' stingers hold new hope for cancer cure

A promising new lead in the search for a cancer cure has turned up in a place that most people naturally avoid. A team from…

Home

Emily Henderson on small space design

Design expert Emily Henderson shows us how to upgrade our cramped quarters.

Home

Emily Henderson's pet-friendly style tips

Design expert Emily Henderson shows us to live with pets in style.