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Your mainstream media at work – Romney teased someone in high school in 1965

Your mainstream media at work – Romney teased someone in high school in 1965

And not just anyone, someone who was “presumed homosexual.”

The Washington Post, fresh off finding a rock in Texas, has dug deep using all the investigative reporting skills of one of the most powerful news organizations in the world, and breathlessly reports that Mitt Romney teased someone in high school in 1965 (h/t @JohnPodhoretz):

Mitt Romney returned from a three-week spring break in 1965 to resume his studies as a high school senior at the prestigious Cranbrook School. Back on the handsome campus, studded with Tudor brick buildings and manicured fields, he spotted something he thought did not belong at a school where the boys wore ties and carried briefcases. John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.

“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenaged son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.

Friends say the fun, affable man they know hasn’t appeared on the campaign trail — perhaps because he’s trying too hard.

A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors….

Romney is now the presumed Republican presidential nominee. His campaign spokeswoman said the former Massachusetts governor has no recollection of the incident.

Purely coincidence that the story prints the day after Obama announces his support for gay marriage.

I once participated in a group which gave someone a wedgie when I was at summer camp in the 1960s.  That’s why I’ll never run for President, my record is stained.

Now about that Obama trip to Pakistan and his 20 years in Jeremiah Wright’s church … bigot, racist, Islamophobe, wingnut.


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Good FLUCKING grief…!!!

What a lurid piece of propagandistic CRAP.

But SOOOOOOoooooooooooooo indicative of why the dead-tree Mushroom Media is losing market-share and revenue to new media.

Yep, it’s started… The DNC/MSM attack apparatus has been tuned up and is operational.

The administration has no record to run on so the only resource available is the juicy mud ready for the sling.

Looks like two or three showers a day for the next six months and yeah… You had better not run for any political office Prof ’cause they’ll find out about them thar’ cupcakes you swiped as a toddler..

It was no coincidence that Obama came out for gay marriage when he did. Yes, he is desperate, but at the same time, he raised a million dollars in 90 minutes.

As for this “reaching” on Mitt Romney, this is only the beginning. I have it on pretty good authority, this will get a lot worse, and be very ugly.

Well to be fair, I can understand why the media felt it was important to report this story. After all, there are a lot of bleached-blond gay men running around this country with their hair hanging over their eyes. They need to know the danger they face from a Romney presidency. Who knows when President Romney might whip out a pair of scissors and go on the attack again? Thank goodness we have such a responsible press keeping us all informed on these matters that are so vital to the stability and security of our nation . . . .

DINORightMarie | May 10, 2012 at 9:16 am

OMFG!!! I would not believe it if I hadn’t read it here!

Does ANYONE think this is serious?! Legitimate?!?! Does ANYONE else remember the 1960’s and the big – HUGE!! – flap about “long hair freaky people”?!?!?! (WARNING: signs are NSFW…..I link for the song only; thanks!)

Or the show/movie Hair that immortalized for all time the Hippie Generation – and ALL that it stood for?! (Note: original song by the Cowsills here.)

As so many predicted, this is just another distraction, an attack on Mormonism, on Romney’s straight-laced (no pun intended!), “baseball, hot dogs, apple-pie and Chevrolet”, traditional all-American image.

Not substance – NO!! That would mean having to stand up and DEFEND a record of decline and American failure that Obama and the regime, OFA and all the lefist Dem’s caused and are accountable for!

No, we need to Alinsky-ize Romney: make him TOXIC by marginalizing him, making him into an object – a TARGET – of ridicule, to demean and tear him down…..into that infamous “other” that is persona non grata.

Pathetic. And worse still, those who are shallow and foolish enough to fall for this obvious character assassination!

Yeah, they’re transparent, all right. To the core of their dark, demented, Alinsky-worshiping inner beings. Diabolical. Heartless. Soul-less.

    Lina Inverse in reply to DINORightMarie. | May 10, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Exactly; I only remember it dimly, but look at e.g. how the very slightly long hair of the Beatles was a Very Big Deal at about this time.

    Bottom line is that wearing hair like that in the 1965 was making a big statement, although like janitor below I had no idea it any LGBT context. And back then institutions of civil society were still dedicated to enforcing norms. And while I’m certain John Lauber was humiliated, we can also be pretty sure he wasn’t surprised by his treatment.

    Obama doesn’t remember high school since he was in a drug/alcohol induced fog.

It’s worse than you can imagine: Romney, who cannot claim one iota of Cherokee heritage and therefore is unable to indemnify himself against personal attacks, encouraged kids to go to bake sales.

This story falls in the “too good to check” category, and yet the Washington Post spiked the story about illegal campaign contributions from overseas to the the Obama campaign, which was a real-time, newsworthy, story.

jimzinsocal | May 10, 2012 at 9:21 am

Of course articles like that will appear. Dont consider the sad state of the economy anymore folks..lets focus over here and make the election all about social issues.

And like this guy suggests: Show me the money

Oh no… that pun near the end. That’s going to leave a mark.

if only the main stream media would expose Big Guy’s votes for infanticide

I love it!


The more the media “reveals” about Romney, the more people will realize MSM are just a bunch of clowns riding in the back seat of Obama’s clown car-

-The more they realize how little the know of Obama..

-The more they realize Obama and his posse are not at all interested in real issues.

The gay sex peoples have been feeling neglected by BHO as they have desperately failed to inject the homosexual angle into any of the false narratives that have been used against Romney and the Republicans…
MANdated free contraception for women -nope
Wealth Redistribution -nope
Hoodie fashion faux pas -nope
Anti-black -nope
Anti-hispanic -nope
They can’t even find a gay angle to globull waring farce

Other than depraved homosexual acts, footstomping and shouting that an element of freedom is a civil right they’ve got nothing…

So they made something up.

This is the stupidest article yet…. no wonder the Washington Post is losing readers and money.

Obama has so many secrets the media is hiding for him. The media doesn’t seem to realize that we KNOW what they are covering up. We can see their propaganda actions. I am sure I am not the only one who hears a story from the msm and I don’t believe it until I see it from a reputable source. The msm is no longer a reputable source.

VetHusbandFather | May 10, 2012 at 9:47 am

Whats this? Desperation?

Professor, thank you for my morning laugh. Both the Washington Post and the New York Times have become the comic pages.
Good for a morning chuckle and nothing more.

“That’s why I’ll never run for President, my record is stained”

Phewww, mega ditto’s on that.

Tied a grade school friend, Greg, to a tree after what I thought, at that time, was a nasty remark about my mommy and daddy. God, were his parents ticked.

Greg kinda’ looked this way, only with blonde hair that covered one of his eyes

The only thing these stories will accomplish is driving up support for Romney from the crowd of voters that supported not-Romneys during the primary, myself included. They really have no idea the can of worms they’re playing with.

    conservativegram in reply to smfoushee. | May 10, 2012 at 10:30 am

    I think you may be right. If you read the whole article, I think it actually comes across as complimentary of Romney. Sounds like he was a typical high school student who was well liked. The author was really grasping for a headline here. Now, hopefully, we’ll get a story like this about Obama from The Washington Post–yeah, right. (BTW–my Dad went to Cranbrook.)

Learn something new every day. The long hair controversy in the “square” versus “hippy” days was really a LBGT-ness thing. Who knew.

Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting

Looks like budding leadership skills.

Oh baby Obama! I am sure this story coming out when it did had nothing to do with Obama’s evolution. Must be connected to Vidal Sassoon’s passing.

Okay, who is Matthew Friedemann? Who did Matthew vote for in 2008? Why is the story coming out now? Who what where when and especially why?

Midwest Rhino | May 10, 2012 at 11:21 am

“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection.

How many direct quotes from other kids can anyone remember from high school, 47 years later? I’m not quite that old, but can’t remember a single one.

Too bad big media can’t find the actual audio of Obama acting as a congressman, coldly talking about letting babies die, if they happen to survive an abortion. Obama uses the scissors to kill the child, before it escapes the womb, so it is not technically, you know, like … murder.

And what was college aged Obama doing at Columbia, during his doper daze, where he liked his Marxist prof’s best. Can we get some quotes from some of his radical friends … like Bill Ayers?

Could we get some quotes from Obama when he was a “community organizer” teaching the tactics of socialist subversive Alinsky?

We have the quotes from Obama saying he is for “single payer”, full government health care. What about the part where his subversive cohorts proudly announce the path to single payer is destruction of the current system … sorta like what Obamacare does.

But maybe there should be a contest on making up the best quotes that would fit Obama’s past … like that he liked eating dog, or his grandmother was a “typical white person”. Nah … nobody would believe such crazy quotes. But they believe when he says he slept through church for 20 years, even though his attitudes about America seem to match Rev. Wright’s pretty well.

    PhillyGuy in reply to Midwest Rhino. | May 10, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Actually I’m still waiting for the LA Times to release the videotape that shows Barack Obama praising Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi at a 2003 banquet. But no, I get information about Mitt as a teenager.

    Or how about explaining why Barack Obama has a CT social security number despite despite never having lived there? But no, I get information about Mitt as a teenager.

    Cynical, I suppose.


LukeHandCool | May 10, 2012 at 11:34 am

I’m sure the mainstream media would explore Obama’s youth just as intensely … but it’s so hard to find and interview composite people.

Samuel Keck | May 10, 2012 at 11:47 am

It may be useful to note that the deuteragonist in that “haircutting” story, John Lauber, is unavailable for comment or direct validation of the facts of the matter — died in 2004.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | May 10, 2012 at 11:48 am

I am not as dismissive of this story as many of the other commenters are. I think it’s a stupid story but I also think I see the bigger picture of what’s going on.

First there was the “Seamus the dog” story in which Willard was portrayed as mean and uncaring toward the beloved family pet. They kept the story alive and repeated it often. Now WaPo has this long essay about how Willard was allegedly mean and uncaring toward a kid who didn’t quite fit in about 50 years ago. Just like he was mean and uncaring toward Seamus.

See what they’re doing? They are building the narrative that Willard is mean, uncaring, aloof, and unsympathetic.

So far, we’ve learned about how a nerdy kid was treated almost 50 years ago and how a dog was treated 30 years ago.

Wait until the narrative moves into the years he ran Bain. Likely to emerge, coincidently, right after the the Republican National Convention.

By then, the MSM will have already built the foundation, based on Seamus and the nerd at prep school, that Willard is a mean guy. But the public may be willing to give him a pass because it happened so long ago. When the MSM starts to disect his Bain years, they’re going to trot out stories about how his callous, mean, and uncaring behavior resulted in lives being ruined. Not that Willard helped give a nerdy rich kid a haircut when he was a teenager 50 years ago, or not that a dog was mistreated 30 years ago, but how hard working Americans had their lives devasted a mere 15-20 years ago when Willard was the responsible CEO of a company that created a huge fortune for himself.

This story in WaPo seems silly on the surface. But I think it’s only another in what are gonig to be several more that share a common theme that Willard is mean, uncaring, and out of touch.

    You are exactly correct. They are slowly crafting their narrative, and after Romney becomes the nominee, the motherlode will be dropped.

    As I said above, it won’t be pretty.

[…] of course the WaPo has to come up with something that would show Romney as a bigot, against a “presumed homosexual”, no less, “with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye”, which Romney […]

LukeHandCool | May 10, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Breaking: Romney apologizes for high school pranks.

Via Hot Air:

    Scorpio51 in reply to LukeHandCool. | May 10, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Not a good move from Romney. Apologizing just fuels the fire.

    Browndog in reply to LukeHandCool. | May 10, 2012 at 3:08 pm


    Romney pulling a McCain-

    Hoping beyond hope that someday he can get his Sally Field on, and announce..

    “They like me! They really like me!”..

    When it comes to liberals-


[…] the same time, though, William Jacobson is too cute by more than half to dismiss it by chortling “I once participated in a group […]

Cassandra Lite | May 10, 2012 at 12:18 pm

The irony is that if this country were as “homophobic” as the elites claim it is, then this story would help Romney, not hurt him.

They can’t have it both ways. So which is it, WaPo?

LukeHandCool | May 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Pinkwashing is evolving.

LukeHandCool (who sometimes worries about sounding anthropomorphic … but who, at the same time, does not want to appear to be anthropomorphicphobic).

1. By apologizing he implicitly validates the media, conceding they were effective in digging up a story worth an apology.
2. Still, probably the best strategy. The alternative would have been a muscularly defiant counter-attack, but that’s a non-starter for Romney — simply not in his constitution.
3. If he thinks his apology put the story to rest he couldn’t be more wrong. It only prevented a slow-build disaster. Now you’ll hear a lot of things like: “you’ve admitted you indulged in homophobic bullying in high school…” “You say you regret ganging up on a young gay man in high school…” How will he handle this?
4. The MSM’s determination to corner and obliterate Romney is a given. At some point he’s going to have to give as good as he gets. That is, develop his own memes and the skills to shift the debate to his advantage.
5. You mean, he doesn’t have all this figured out by now? Any Republican who doesn’t should pack up and go home.

    Ragspierre in reply to raven. | May 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Disagree. Here’s some reasons why…

    1. Obama NOW needs to apologize for this meanieness to a girl…who he relates SHOVING. And hurting. (Pig.)

    2. Warren COULD have said at points in time, “Well, silly me…I was told this lore as a chil’ and just accepted what my family told me about our Indian heritage. I was just duped by my well-meaning family, who really believed what was handed down”. DONE.


theduchessofkitty | May 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm

The WP probably will have no problem publishing this ditty about Romeny…

Mitt Romney assisted on the search for his business partner’s missing daughter.

Clearly, it shows how Romney cares for people, as an adult. (Not a high school student.)

… What’d ya say? Really?…

Oh, that’s right. It shows Romney in a very positive light. Oh no, we can’t allow that. He should be crowned The Enemy of The Gays till Kingdom come, or at least November…

Never mind…

Has anyone determined how much Matthew Friedemann has contributed to Obama and the Dems over the years?

I smell the malodorous fragrance of sundried fish!

I agree with Midwest Rhino. I have problems remembering what was for dinner last night let alone what went on in high school (in my case) 40 years ago.

On a scale of stupid things done as kids, cutting another kids hair is not nearly as dangerous as snorting nose candy.

This is one of those events from the past that you cannot judge using the standards of today. I remember going to a football game with my older sister and the kids were throwing food at the brave soul who wore his hair like the Beatles.

You know, I wasn’t a Romney fan, I liked and wanted Newt, but now I’m on the point of actually liking Mitt. For the first time in this election I’m beginning to believe the guy is actually human. Can you imagine. Romney was a kid and did kid things and got in trouble and “gee mom,” I’m so happy. Now, if we could just find out that Obama was human we’d have a bigger find than the fact that dinosaurs fart. Be still my heart, I might actually be able to vote for this guy with a smile. And remember–I said might, not will.
Now, the question is, what next will the hound dogs of the press find out about Mitt. Maybe, how much pain he caused his mother as he was being born. Maybe, how he threw up on his mother after she fed him. Or like most boys of that tender age, how he wet on his father when he was trying to change Mitt’s diaper. I can hardly wait for these breathless stories to appear in the MSM.

theduchessofkitty | May 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm

I looked in the article and found this:

“Mitt Romney’s prep school classmates recall pranks, but also troubling incidents

View Photo Gallery — Mitt Romney’s years at Cranbrook Schools: The presumptive Republican presidential nominee spent many of his formative years as a student at the elite school in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Smaller Text Larger Text Text Size

There was a significant Jewish contingent, and several of those students said they never sensed any obvious prejudice. During Romney’s tenure, there were also Middle Eastern exchange students, usually from Kuwait.

Abdulhadi M. al-Awadi, a Kuwaiti student, had fond memories of the school and the respect and special attention he received from teachers. He recalled Romney as the “son of Governor Romney” who was “very sociable.” When some students put up pictures of Israeli statesman David Ben-Gurion in the hallway near his room, he did not believe it was meant intentionally to offend him, but he was bothered by it. “It’s human nature. But they did it. That’s their right.”

Personal Post


Mitt Romney through the years: A look at the former Massachusetts governor now seeking the GOP presidential nomination.
Romney apologizes for school pranks
Romney apologizes for school pranks

Philip Rucker 10:45 AM ET

Mitt Romney, responding to a Washington Post article, said he was sorry for high school pranks that “might have gone too far.”
How Romney found his footing at BYU
How Romney found his footing at BYU

Jason Horowitz FEB 18

As a student at a chaotic time for the Mormon school, he focused on family and his church.
Why does Romney seem so stiff?
Why does Romney seem so stiff?

Jason Horowitz APR 17

Friends say the fun, affable man they know hasn’t appeared on the campaign trail — perhaps because he’s trying too hard.

Faisel F. al-Abduljadir, a Kuwaiti student spending his senior year at Cranbrook in part to improve his English, said the teachers and students went out of their way to treat him with respect, showing consideration for his celebration of Ramadan and bathing requirements. But he acknowledged being “angry” about a caption under his picture in the senior yearbook that read, “Take a left at the next Synagogue.”

Religion was not much of an issue for the students. There was mandatory chapel time on Tuesdays and Thursdays when they sang Episcopalian hymns and the school song, “Forty Years On,” but it was studiously nondenominational. The campus’s elegant Christ Church had a Star of David, an Islamic crescent, and Yin and Yang sign above its wooden door. The Mormon Romney joined Jews and Protestants on Cranbrook’s Church Cabinet, which focused on community service.

Some students admired Romney for what they saw as his lack of airs, saying he did not trade on his father’s status as an auto executive and governor. Romney even came in for teasing because American Motors, the company his father ran, was considered at the bottom rung of the big auto hierarchy, below General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.

“Boys in a boys’ school can tease and make fun of almost anything,” said Bailey, a scholarship student and head prefect of the school who described Romney at the time as an awkward adolescent with a penchant for practical jokes. The children of other auto executives would taunt Romney for the Ramblers he and his father drove. “That’s not a car, that’s a bicycle with a dishwasher for an engine,” Bailey recalled them saying.

Others noticed a distance between themselves and Romney. “I was a scholarship student and he was the son of the governor,” said Lance Leithauser, now a doctor, who attended the school with his brother, Brad, now a noted poet. “There was a bit of a gulf.” Even a close pal like Friedemann felt that distance; their friendship was confined to the dorms. When Romney left the campus on weekends, he never invited him. “I didn’t quite fit into the social circle. I didn’t have a car when I was 16,” Friedemann said. “I couldn’t go skiing or whatever they did.”

Lou Vierling, a scholarship student who boarded at Cranbrook for the 1960 and 1961 academic years, was struck by a question Romney asked them when they first met. “He wanted to know what my father did for a living,” Vierling recalled. “He wanted to know if my mother worked. He wanted to know what town I lived in.” As Vierling explained that his father taught school, that he commuted from east Detroit, he noticed a souring of Romney’s demeanor.

Romney was bowled over by the wealth of some of his friends. He briefly dated Mary Fisher, the daughter of the philanthropist and diplomat Max Fisher, who acted as a finance chairman to George Romney’s political campaigns. At her house, he watched the James Bond film “Goldfinger” in the family’s private theater before it was widely released. He reported excitedly back to Friedemann about the theater, noting that the seats even had numbers.

The largest chasm of all at Cranbrook was between the boarders and the “day boys.” Students within the limits of Detroit’s Eight Mile Road had the option to attend the school without boarding. The requirements for enrollment as a day student were generally tougher, leading day boys to consider themselves academically superior. Day boys also had the freedom to leave campus when school let out late in the afternoon. Often those with cars would gas up at nearby service stations, cruise Woodward Avenue and plot “how and where we could get some beer,” said Gregg Dearth, who went by the nickname Daiquiri Dearth. Drugs were generally unheard of, but day boy parties often included someone downing beers or toting bottles of scotch.

Romney began his Cranbrook career as a day boy and quickly adapted to the school’s unofficial code. He was prohibited by his religion from drinking alcohol but excelled at elaborate practical jokes.

During spring break of his senior year, when most of his friends went to Florida for vacation, Romney stayed behind to make movies for an upcoming Cranbrook talent show. For one, he filmed his friends Stu White and Judy Sherman seated at a table to dine on fine china on a Woodward Avenue median as their friend Pike John, now deceased, acted as the waiter. Romney filmed the luncheon until a police officer pulled up. “And that was it,” Sherman said.

But in a well-known prank in which Romney flashed a police siren and, bearing a fake badge and cap, approached two friends and their dates parked on a dark country road, there was a stronger undercurrent of fear to the incident than commonly conveyed. Candy Porter, a Kingswood boarder from a small town in Ohio, had a strict 11 p.m. curfew. As Romney and his Cranbrook pals played out the joke, pretending to be shocked over empty bourbon bottles in the trunk, Porter thought of the dorm mothers waiting at the door and the threat of expulsion. “I just remember being like a deer in headlights,” she said. “I just remember being terrified.” Once she realized it was all a prank, and was safely back at her dorm, Porter joined in the laughter.

Romney’s sense of humor ran through his family.

Sherman, a friend of the Romneys from high school, recalled Ann telling her about the time Romney and his older brother, Scott, dressed up in white coats and wheeled a gurney up to the Birmingham train station to meet their aunt. When she got off the train, they rushed her away as if to a madhouse.

* * *

By the time Romney started dating Ann in his senior year, he had immersed himself into the Cranbrook culture. In 1962, when his father won the governorship and his parents moved to Lansing, he entered the boarding life as a resident of Stevens Hall, named after the school’s first headmaster. From the inside, Cranbrook was an entirely different place.

“The day students,” said Steph Lady, a boarder and now a screenwriter in Hollywood, “it was like they didn’t even go there.”

Romney breathed Cranbrook day and night.

He met the Kingswood girls at the Get Acquainted Dance in the school gym. There was the Chateau de Noel girl-ask-boy dance at Christmas, and the World A-Fair, in which students dressed up in the garb of other nations. He sang in the Glee Club and started the Blue Key Club, an organization of students who “know the campus and Cranbrook traditions well” and served as ambassador to parents and prospective students. The school newspaper noted that his “diligent and capable leadership” of the homecoming weekend, where he delivered a “brilliantly hilarious monologue,” earned him a citation reserved for “students whose contributions to school life are often not fully recognized through already existing channels.” He was co-chairman of the Speculators Club and played a leading role in the American Field Service, which helped bring foreign students to the campus. He also served a leadership role on a student cabinet organization and during his senior year took a bus with some Kingswood girls to volunteer at the nearby state mental hospital. There, he danced to spinning 45s and talked and ate chips with the young patients.

“His altruism was apparent then and is apparent now,” said Candy Porter, who volunteered with Romney at the hospital. “I just remember him being really nice,” said Mary Fisher.

Romney also found time to contribute to the school paper as a special correspondent at the funeral of President John F. Kennedy. “Mitt Romney Comments on Kennedy Funeral,” read the front page headline on the Dec. 17, 1963, edition of the Crane. “Note: Personal comments and observations made by Mitt Romney in Washington, Nov. 25, 1963.”

“The old Washington theory of relativity, briefly: one is important only until a bigger brass appears, was blatently [sic] obvious for whenever before have we had the top potentates of the world here to outrank our dignitaries? We all recall the day when we saw a senator of the like in some big, black limosine [sic] drive through our town. Most likely our mouths were hanging wide open as our Mommies and Daddies told us the man out there was a very important person who worked in Washington.”

* * *

Even without extracurricular activities, Cranbrook demanded long days. The morning bell rang at 7 and breakfast was served in the dining hall at 7:30, coat and tie required. After breakfast, students returned to clean their rooms in anticipation of white-gloved senior prefects who scoured the bed frames for dust. After classes and study hall at 9:30, students could go beneath Stevens Hall to the school store, where the boys received letters, via an inter-school postal service, from the girls at Kingswood. Some were perfumed.

The letters Romney wrote were delivered to the Green Lobby in Kingswood. Around 10:15 every morning, the girls, all wearing saddle shoes, hoped to hear their names called amid walls of rich green tile, and banisters, benches and clocks all in the art deco style.

“The person who wrote the most consistently was Mitt,” said Lyn Moon Shields, who dated Romney in the fall semester of 1964. Gentlemanly and fun, Romney was her best date in her six years at school. He called every evening and picked her up in his powder blue Rambler and drove her up and down Woodward Avenue on weekends, and to school dances where she wore blue-green formal dresses and he a dark suit and tie. “Things were so innocent,” she said. “We kissed each other, I think Mitt would admit to that.” One day, she said, Romney just stopped calling. He had taken an interest in a Kingswood sophomore. “They got intentional about their relationship very soon,” Shields said of Mitt and Ann.

Like every other student, Romney completed a rigorous workload that made most college requirements seem easy by comparison. Between the seventh and eighth grades, the faculty selected a dozen or so students to enter an advanced-placement program. Romney at first was not among the chosen, and he objected. “He went into the headmaster and convinced him that ‘I should be in this,’ ” John French, who had been friends with Romney since they served together as Cub Scouts, recalled Romney telling him. “He had gumption. He had his sights on what he wanted to achieve.”

The time after class was set aside for sports. Romney was not a natural athlete, according to classmates. He wore the Cranbrook “C” on his white tank top as a cross-country runner, but the greatest impression he made in that pursuit was collapsing near the finish line during a meet — although his perseverance won him admiration and applause. He was more at home on the sidelines, cheering the football team on as a member of the Pep Club, chanting such cheers into a megaphone as “Iron them out. Iron them out. Smooooth.”

He participated on the school’s hockey team as its manager, lugging a duffle bag full of pucks and sticks. Dressed in suit and tie and three-quarter coat, he rode the bus with the uniformed players and kept stats in the coach’s box at the cold outdoor rink. The team’s senior year began with promise, but ended badly. The players took out their frustration on the ice, getting into brawls with Lakeview and Catholic Central. During one fight, Maxwell pulled the jersey over the head of an opposing player and pummeled away. Romney dashed onto the ice, slipping and sliding in his Brogan wingtips in an apparent attempt to break up the fight.

During the winter of Romney’s sophomore year, the faculty assigned him and Maxwell to mop the floors of the academic halls, part of a World War II-era program meant to instill a work ethic in the students. During their six-week detail, the two old friends had long, rambling conversations about religion, and Maxwell pressed Romney on how he could believe in Mormonism.

As Maxwell later recalled their discussion, he asked Romney, “How can you believe that thing about the tablets?” referring to the divine gold tablets Mormons believe were discovered in New York and translated by Joseph Smith.

Romney, he said, responded, “What about the Virgin birth and the holy trinity?”

“I don’t believe that either,” Maxwell responded. The discussions ultimately came down to a faith vs. reason equation.

“You simply have to have faith,” Romney concluded.

“That’s a cop-out,” Maxwell said.

While there were seeds of Romney’s future devoutness at Cranbrook, he was then more interested in goofing off. In the evenings, he cut loose with Friedemann, a scholarship kid from the small town of Romeo, dubbed the Kraut. The two boys stayed up late, joking around and racing mops like racehorses up and down the hallway.

One regular in the Stevens Hall revelry was the school’s security guard, Chester. In police uniform, chubby and middle-aged, Chester would let Romney and Friedemann examine and play with his gun. In the student yearbook, Romney posed with his arm around Chester wearing thick black glasses, similar to those the guard wore, but also a ski hat and a silly Jerry Lewis expression. At the Swingin’ Sweeney Dance, Romney pointed a toy gun under his chin as two girls shook hands in front of him. A photo of the pose ran in the yearbook above the caption, “Give a guy enough rope and he’ll hang himself.”

Romney spent months trying to convert Friedemann, the son of New Deal-worshiping Democrats, to the Republican Party. He asked to meet his friend’s grandmother, so that he could convert her, too. “He talked politics all the time,” Friedemann said. “It was more big government versus small government. He was a business guy back then.”

Romney’s political and personal idol, George Romney, was never far away. Once Crawford Elder, a student a year behind Romney, saw the governor in the basement under Stevens Hall getting a haircut from Everett Arthurs, the school barber and part-time bartender at faculty cocktail parties. When Ev, as he was widely known, dropped dead after a round of golf, Gov. Romney eulogized him at a tree dedication ceremony on the quad, a few steps away from his son’s room.

* * *

After lights out, John Lauber often left his door open. Larry Olson and some other boarders would check for the hall monitor they called Sneaky Pete and slip into Lauber’s room. From there, they would crawl out his window, climb over the bushes and scurry off campus to Lone Pine Road, where a pizza truck regularly parked. Sated, they would climb back through the window and check on the bottles of apple juice that they hoped fermenting grapes would turn into hard cider. Then Lauber and his friends played poker until the early morning.

When Lauber’s younger sister, Betsy, visited the campus, she said she found him happy and sporting a preppy look. He took her to an off-campus party at a fellow student’s house where they danced to Motown records and laughed.

But he was always a bit different from the rest. During breaks from school, he worked as a mortician’s assistant. He spent more time devouring books than making friends in clubs.

“He was very quiet, not a jock,” said Steph Lady. “Very soft-spoken. I know nothing, probably gay, but who knows. We were so stupid and naïve. I know there was homosexuality there but we didn’t even have a word for it. And there was homophobia then, too.”

On an overcast Saturday, David Craig, a senior prefect and day student, drove his car down Martell Drive along the school grounds and saw a figure duck into the hedges. He thought the person might be trespassing and stopped, only to find Lauber puffing on a cigarette. In a move that he said he later regretted as an excess of the “dorm trooper” mentality instilled by Cranbrook, Craig reported Lauber to the headmaster. Soon after, Lauber was expelled.

“He just disappeared,” Lady said.

Sudden disappearances at Cranbrook were not unheard of. Students might pass a dorm neighbor on the way to class and come back hours later, with all their belongings gone and their beds stripped by maintenance staff. Bad behavior and bad grades were not tolerated.

Ben Snyder, who as an assistant headmaster later spearheaded the school’s effort to recruit inner-city students, said Cranbrook in Romney’s time “had its standards and applied them briskly when needed.” As chairman of a group of faculty members and students who were in charge of discipline, he described a strict school in which offenders could be “dismissed, period.” Snyder could not recall dealing with any transgressions involving Romney. “I wouldn’t expect to see him,” Snyder said of the disciplinary tribunals. “The family was so straight, they don’t do those types of things.”

On June 12, 1965, Romney concluded his Cranbrook career at a commencement ceremony at the Christ Church, in which his father delivered a keynote address reported on by the local papers.

“This is a special occasion for us as a family,” George Romney told the gathered boys before emphasizing that religion and “the one girlfriend whom you finally take the greatest interest in” and good health habits were critical for a successful life. So, he said, was character. “Developing character is going to be more important than your education from now on.” The ceremony concluded with all the boys singing a final rendition of their school song, “Forty years on.”

“Forty years on, when afar and asunder

Parted are those who are singing today,

When you look back, and forgetfully wonder

What you were like in your work and your play,

Then, it may be, there will often come o’er you,

Glimpses of notes like the catch of a song –

Visions of boyhood shall float them before you,

Echoes of dreamland shall bear them along,

Follow up! Follow up! Follow up!”

Forty years on, Mitt Romney accepted the school’s 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award.

A year earlier, John Joseph Lauber died at a Seattle hospital.

The boy few at Cranbrook knew or remember was born in Chicago, grew up in South Bend, Ind., and had a hard time fitting in. He liked to wander and “had a glorious sense of the absurd,” according to his sister Betsy. When the chance to get out of Indiana presented itself, he jumped at it, and enrolled at Cranbrook. He never uttered a word about Mitt Romney or the haircut incident to his sisters. After Cranbrook asked him to leave, he finished high school, attended the University of the Seven Seas for two semesters, then graduated in 1970 from Vanderbilt, where he majored in English.

He came out as gay to his family and close friends and led a vagabond life, taking dressage lessons in England and touring with the Royal Lipizzaner Stallion riders. After an extreme fit of temper in front of his mother and sister at home in South Bend, he checked into the Menninger Clinic psychiatric hospital in Topeka, Kan. Later he received his embalmer’s license, worked as a chef aboard big freighters and fishing trawlers, and cooked for civilian contractors during the war in Bosnia and then, a decade later, in Iraq. His hair thinned as he aged, and in the winter of 2004 he returned to Seattle, the closest thing he had to a base. He died there of liver cancer that December.

He kept his hair blond until he died, said his sister Chris. “He never stopped bleaching it.” ”

Now, the guy grew up and died of liver cancer.

But that’s NOT how the MSM will interpret it. They will say that Romney is not only a “BULLY”, but a
“MURDERER” as well, simply because of this.

And nowadays, with the whole campaign against “bullying” (which is actually “shut those Christians off for good”) going on, they are going to milk this for all its worth – however little.

theduchessofkitty | May 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Professor, if you can please erase my previous comment. I thought I had just pasted a couple of paragraphs, but never thought it was going to do this to me. My bad! 🙁

So, did Barry ever participate in “Kill Haole Day” in Hawaii?

Since Mitt Romney’s high school history seems so relevant to this election, I am assuming the same holds true for Obama’s high school years? Who set up Barack Obama’s Big Comrades program with Frank Marshall Davis and more importantly, why did they set it up?

[…] forced-by-my-daughters’-emotions evolutionary announcement of support for same-sex “marriage.”A Shermanesque statement from Professor Jacobson:I once participated in a group which gave someone a wedgie when I was at summer camp in the […]

bobbelvedere | May 10, 2012 at 6:18 pm

That The Washington Post saw fit to publish this story at all is a testament to their utter hackery.

That Willard M. Romney decided to directly apologize for the story is a testament to his timidity [something he showed a lot of as Governor].

I’m off to have three fingers of bourbon – I don’t know if I can take six more months of this michegas.

PS: Thanks, Prof, for awarding Post Of The Day to one of my postings. Surely, there’s a special in Heaven for ye.

Sorry, Professor, I think a physical assault is kind of beyond the pale of pranks and hijinks. I would be upset if my child was treated this way at school and would definitely label the offenders as bullies.

But, the real problem is not so much that young Romney did this, but that “mature” Romney didn’t have a better reaction. He should have said it was wrong, and he’s sorry it happened and has learned from his mistakes as a youngster to be more caring about people who are different.

But his lame, I don’t remember this (if you did this to another classmate would you remember?) and this was just hijinks and pranks, makes him appear to be morally immature.

Apparently Barack Obama was nearly as bad yelling at a girl who liked him and publicly humiliating her and badmouthing another young black man who didn’t dress and act like him. He’s even worse as an adult in that he wrote about both events without a thought of saying he was now sorry. (Thank goodness for autobiographies when the press is so biased.)

Well. This story didn’t even last a day.

I called this one at 9:21 am, above. This is me doing the I told you so dance, because I subscribed to the Washington Post for almost 20 years, and I know what to look for.

Fie on you, Professor Jacobson!! Just when I think we’ve got the perfect running mate for Governor Romney (or at least Attorney General-designate), you belatedly admit your horrible and vile wedgie-giving past! I bet it’ll be revealed in days to come that you also blew raspberries and stuck your thumbs in your ears and wiggled your fingers. Where’s Jim Nabors to cry out “For shame, for shame!” when we need him?

Seriously though, great stuff, especially on Fauxcahontas; glad to see you getting the recognition you deserve.

Mr Romney needs to get on the stick. Whenever a BS story like this pops up, he should respond something like:

“You know, I heard from an old classmate that John Lauber has had some tough times lately:

He lost his job in mid-2009 and hasn’t been able to find anything since.

He’s got a sick wife and lost his health insurance.

He’s got kids who are underwater on their houses, so they can’t help.

He lost all of his retirement money in MF Global investments.

And that’s not the worst of it…”