Mitt Romney came under criticism Monday for recalling a seminal moment from his childhood in Detroit that actually took place nine months before he was born.
Mitch Potter of the Toronto Star on Monday questioned a tale that the former Massachusetts governor recently told to a Tea Party crowd of attending the Golden Jubilee. Romney told the gathering in Milford, Mich., he was "probably 4 or something" at the time of the jubilee, which attracted 750,000 people to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the American automobile. There was just one problem.
"The Golden Jubilee described so vividly by Romney was indeed an epic moment in automotive lore," Potter writes. "The parade included one of the last public appearances by an elderly Henry Ford. And it took place June 1, 1946 -- fully nine months before Romney was born."
Reached for comment, a Romney aide disputed the notion that the GOP frontrunner had fudged the facts in order to give his biography more emotional pull for Michiganders, who vote in their primary on Tuesday.
"Mitt doesn’t say he was there," said the aide. "In fact, he says his memory was foggy, he 'thinks' his dad had a job there and that he was “probably 4 or something like that.” He was simply telling the story about his dad."
The full quote does show Romney acknowledging haziness about his recall, which he chalks up, in a joking manner, to being too young to remember.
"I think my dad had a job like being the grand master or whatever of the 50th celebration of the automobile in Detroit. They painted Woodward Avenue with gold paint … My memory is a little foggy here … So I was probably four or something like that, and had the cars go down Woodward Avenue. I know they still have the parade of cars every year," said Romney
Video of the speech is below, with the relevant portion about 1:15 minutes in.
If this was Romney's first flirtation with autobiographical fudging, the Grand Jubilee remarks might be dismissed as a rhetorical flub. But the former governor has had similar issues in the past.
In 2007, Romney claimed that he saw his father march with Martin Luther King Jr. David Bernstein of the Boston Phoenix researched the claim and wrote that he found "no evidence that the senior Romney actually marched with King, nor anything in the public record suggesting that he ever claimed to do so." The Romney campaign later responded that they both marched in June 1963, but not on the same day or in the same city, but in the same "series" of events.