‘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
News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

National

Reddit boosts news capabilities in social media turf…

By Jennifer SabaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As,…

Local

New York joins accord to strengthen popular vote…

New York State joined a nationwide effort that would gives the state's 29 electoral votes for president to the candidate who wins the national popular vote.

National

Missouri man charged with sexually torturing five women

A Missouri man has been charged with raping and torturing five women in a St. Louis-area apartment over several years, law enforcement officials said on Tuesday.

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Accomplice Tour: New York (Spoiler Alert)

When I signed up for the Accomplice show tour, I had no idea what I was in for. But every grimy job comes with a great reward.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

Television

'Orphan Black' is back with 'crazy clone shenanigans'

“Orphan Black” is the little show that could. It had a few things working against it: a sci-fi premise, attracting an audience who had never…

NBA

Nets miss chance to clinch No. 5 seed…

Nets head coach Jason Kidd expressed little concern after a 109-98 loss to the Knicks, but others seemed to disagree.

NFL

Jets confident despite Chris Johnson leaving with no…

Jets fans clamored for a playmaker on offense all offseason. It looked like they were going to land that player on Tuesday when Chris Johnson…

NBA

Knicks, Nets rivalry never materialized despite national attention

When the NBA schedule was released, the league anticipated an intense rivalry between the Nets and Knicks with all four games slated for national TV.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Personalize your massage at a private practice

CityTouch customizes spa treatments to meet client's needs.

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.