A day after President Barack Obama stated that his evolution on same-sex marriage has landed him on the side of marriage equality, and a day after Mitt Romney took the opportunity to assure social conservatives that he remains staunchly against not only same marriages but civil unions as well, comes the revelation that Romney may have been a bully in high school (Washington Post, Daily Caller).
If you have not heard or read the specifics, basically, while in his senior year at prep school, former classmates have alleged that Romney either participated in or led an attack on a younger classmate, John Lauber (since deceased). Lauber was forcibly held down and his hair cut, all while he screamed for help. This is according to five former classmates of Romney. Most lean Democratic, but deny that politics shade their memories of this event. The general consensus is that Romney changed once he met his future wife Ann Davies, but it does not change those earlier events.
Perhaps tellingly, Mitt Romney does not deny the events took place. He has simply stated that he was a different person back then and that he does not recall this specific event.
"I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school and some may have gone too far. And for that I apologize," Romney told Brian Kilmeade of Fox News radio. He claims that he does not remember this particular incident. He then gave the classic non-apology apology, "[i]f there was anything I said that was offensive to someone, I certainly am sorry about that." (AP)
This apology is so offensive because it is not one. It implies that the offended party is somehow at fault. While bad behavior in high school certainly does not mean bad behavior now, that Romney is not outright denying these events suggests that this is not merely some story concocted by political opponents. It is difficult to believe that he cannot recall these events considering the circumstances. If this did happen as alleged, a true apology would prove with deed what he claims about change.
It should be noted that Romney claims that no one knew Lauber was gay (he did not come out until some years after high school) and that any pranks pulled on Lauber were not because of Lauber's sexual orientation.