‘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

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

National

Top 10 most hipster college campuses

Hipsters are everywhere these days. You can't walk down the anywhere anymore without seeing a pair of skinny jeans on a handlebar mustachioed 20-something, a…

National

Detained Americans in North Korea seek U.S. help

Three US citizens detained in North Korea appealed to the U.S government for help returning home, speaking in rare interviews.

Gossip

Spears back with controversial ex?

Is Briteny Spears back with Adnan Ghalib?

Gossip

Brad and Angelina honeymoon in Gozo

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have taken their brood to Gozo for a working honeymoon.

Entertainment

Where to place the blame in a nude…

When a celebrity's private photos are leaked online, it's easy to jump to the conclusion that they only have themselves to blame, since they took…

Gossip

Security expert weighs in on 'The Fappening' and…

We speak to Rik Ferguson, vice president of security firm Security Research at Trend Micro, about the hundreds of hacked celebrity photos that leaked.

MLB

Cole Hamels, three other Phillies throw no-hitter

The Phillies had something to cheer about in September despite being mired in last place and struggling to figure out what their future looks like.…

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Travel

10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…

Travel

How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…

Career

The number of telecommuters is expected to nearly…

Until a few years ago, telecommuting was not considered a realistic option at most companies. But with technological advances like high-speed Internet and smartphones, more…

Wellbeing

Your new food ally to ward off type…

For people who may be headed for type 2 diabetes, regularly eating pistachios might help turn the tide, according to a small nutrition trial from…