As a high school senior at an elite all-boys boarding school, former governor Mitt Romney bullied a presumed gay teen, having his friends hold the boy down while he cut off his hair, the Washington Post reports.
The incident was told to the newspaper independently by five students, one who said that Romney, the son of then-Michigan governor George Romney, had it out for a younger boy because of his long bleached-blond hair.
One day in 1965 Romney had his friends tackle the boy, named as the now-deceased John Lauber, while he repeatedly cut his hair with scissors. Lauber cried and repeatedly called for help during the incident, the report said.
“It happened very quickly, and to this day it troubles me,” Thomas Buford, a retired prosecutor, told the Washington Post.
A spokesperson for Romney said the presumed Republican presidential candidate had no recollection of the incident.
“Anyone who knows Mitt Romney knows that he doesn’t have a mean-spirited bone in his body,” Andrea Saul said in a statement. “The stories of fifty years ago seem exaggerated and off base and Governor Romney has no memory of participating in these incidents.”
The report comes just as U.S. President Barack Obama announced his landmark support for same-sex marriage, setting the stage for a presidential race defined on social issues.
Romney, who is against same-sex marriage, lost his cool Wednesday when a local reporter in Denver hounded him with social policy questions.
After a series of questions on Obama’s same-sex marriage announcement, Romney finally lost it when asked about medical marijuana.
“Aren’t there — aren’t there issues of significance that you’d like to talk about?” Romney said, cutting off the CBS reporter.
Romney has run his presidential campaign with a focus on the economy, an issue he believes he can beat Obama on.
However, Romney has been greeted lukewarmly by the conservative base of the Republican party, partly because of his social policy credentials.
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