The Washington Post reports that Mitt Romney took part in a prank as a teenager that involved pinning down and cutting the hair of a fellow student who had found himself the target of ridicule “for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality.”
Years later, Romney’s high school friends expressed regret and described the incident as “vicious.”
The Hill has Romney’s response: “They talked about the fact that I played a lot of pranks in high school, and they described some that, boy, you just say to yourself, back in high school, you know, I did some dumb things. If anyone was hurt by that or offended by that, obviously I apologize. But overall, high school years were a long time ago.”
What do Romney’s teenage years tell us?
Jonathan Chait: “My cautious, provisional take is that this portrait of the youthful Romney does suggest a man who grew up taking for granted the comforts of wealth and prestige. I don’t blame him for accepting the anti-gay assumptions of his era. The story does give the sense of a man who lacks a natural sense of compassion for the weak. His prankery seems to have invariably singled out the vulnerable — the gay classmate, the nearly blind teacher, the nervous day student racing back to campus. It’s entirely possible to grow out of that youthful mentality — to learn to step out of your own perspective, to develop an appreciation for the difficulties faced by those not born with Romney’s many blessings. I’m just not sure he ever has.”
My take: The old meme for a teenager aspiring to be president was don’t do coke. Now, it’s don’t gay bash.