It Depends on What Your Definition of March Is
Everybody says something stupid from time to time. It’s part of life. But the actions you take immediately after you misspeak can greatly change the outcome of your faux pas.
If you stop, admit your mistake, and apologize, things will probably be fine. But if you keep running your mouth, quibbling over the details and trying to find some way to shift the blame for your idiocy, the listener gets even more angry.
It’s a lesson Mitt Romney could stand to learn.
At the Boston Phoenix, David Bernstein did some digging and found no record of George Romney ever marching with Martin Luther King Jr., which Mitt has claimed in several high-profile appearances.
Asked about the specifics of George Romney’s march with MLK, Mitt Romney’s campaign told the Phoenix that it took place in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. That jibes with the description proffered by David S. Broder in a Washington Post column written days after Mitt’s College Station speech.
Of the many contemporaneous and historical records of the Grosse Pointe speech, none make any mention of George Romney’s attendance. It is unlikely, if not implausible, that his presence would have gone unnoticed: not only was he governor of the state, he had just, weeks before, dropped out of the race for President.
Ouch. That’s pretty damning. But instead of apologizing and citing his father’s civil rights record, Mitt just keeps digging the hole deeper. Yesterday, he claimed he was “speaking figuratively.”
On Wednesday, Romney’s campaign said his recollections of watching his father, an ardent civil rights supporter, march with King were meant to be figurative.
“He was speaking figuratively, not literally,” Eric Fehrnstrom, spokesman for the Romney campaign, said of the candidate.
But in today’s Globe, Mitt changes tactics and asks us to look at the literal definition of “saw.”
“If you look at the literature, if you look at the dictionary, the term ‘saw’ includes being aware of in the sense I’ve described,” Romney told reporters in Iowa. “It’s a figure of speech and very familiar, and it’s very common. And I saw my dad march with Martin Luther King. I did not see it with my own eyes, but I saw him in the sense of being aware of his participation in that great effort.”
Mitt. Just. Stop. Talking. You’re embarrassing yourself.