Romney May Have Lied About His Father Marching with Dr. Martin Luther King

Election '08

On Meet the Press over the weekend, Tim Russert pressed Mitt Romney on his church's history of racism. As the host noted, the LDS Church didn't allow black people to participate fully in church services until 1978. "You were 31 years old, and your church was excluding blacks from full participation," Russert said. "Didn't you think, 'What am I doing part of an organization that is viewed by many as a racist organization?'"

Romney had heard this many times before, and immediately drew a distinction between his church's history and his family's history. "My dad marched with Martin Luther King," Romney said. As the former governor sees it, his parent's work helps reflect his "fundamental core beliefs."

He's done this quite a bit. In his very high-profile speech on religion in America two weeks ago, Romney described "American values," and bragged, "I saw my father march with Martin Luther King."

But whether this actually occurred is now open to some question. The Boston Phoenix looked into Romney's claim and "can find no evidence that the senior Romney actually marched with King, nor anything in the public record suggesting that he ever claimed to do so." Indeed, Mitt Romney never even claimed that his father marched with MLK until after his father passed away -- "not even when defending accusations of the Mormon church's discriminatory past during his 1994 Senate campaign." (via Mr. Furious)

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. Broder, in that column, references a 1967 book he co-authored on the Republican Party, which included a chapter on George Romney. It includes a one-line statement that the senior Romney "has marched with Martin Luther King through the exclusive Grosse Pointe suburb of Detroit."
But that account is incorrect. King never marched in Grosse Pointe, according to the Grosse Pointe Historical Society, and had not appeared in the town at all at the time the Broder book was published. [...]
In fact, King's only appearance in Grosse Pointe, according to Berschback, took place after Broder's book was published. That was for a March 14 speech he delivered at Grosse Pointe High School, just three weeks before King was assassinated. But there was no march, and George Romney was not there.
Uh oh.

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