IMPORTANT:This page has used Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia in either a refactored, modified, abridged, expanded, built on or 'straight from' text content! (view authors)

In May 2012, while Mitt Romney was running as the U.S. Presidential Candidate for the Republican Party, a story appeared in the press regarding an incident in which he was allegedly involved at the Cranbrook School.

The story first appeared in the Washington Post and described how Romney, in the spring of 1965 while a senior at Cranbrook, allegedly bullied John Lauber, a new student in his junior year who came to school with “bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye”. A former friend stated that Romney said: “He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!”[1]

File:Cranbrook School Quadrangle.jpg

The Cranbrook School Quadrangle

File:Cranbrook School A D 1927.jpg


Romney along with several other students allegedly tackled Lauber, pinning him down as he cried and screamed for help, while Romney cut his hair with a pair of scissors. [2]

Romney responded to the story by saying he did not remember the incident and on May 11 he apologized generally for his high school pranks: "I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school, and some might have gone too far".[3]


The article was researched by Washington Post reporter Jason Horowitz and Julie Tate. Five classmates were reportedly interviewed as well as Lauber's sisters. The five made corroborating statements and four of them permitted their names to be used.

Philip Maxwell
Considered the act to be assault and battery, describing he and his friends as a “pack of dogs.” [4] He also stated "It was vicious."[2]
Matthew Friedemann
“He was just easy pickins,” [2]
Thomas Buford
“It happened very quickly, and to this day it troubles me,” “What a senseless, stupid, idiotic thing to do.” [5]
David Seed
Recalled meeting Lauber thirty years later in O'Hare airport. According to Seed, Lauber recalled the incident as being "horrible" and “It’s something I have thought about a lot since then.” [2]


John Lauber died in 2004, prior to the story; however, the Washington Post interviewed his surviving sisters.

His sister Betsy Lauber released a statement on behalf of the family to ABC News, saying, "The family of John Lauber is releasing a statement saying the portrayal of John is factually incorrect and we are aggrieved that he would be used to further a political agenda. There will be no more comments from the family." One of his other sisters, Christine Lauber, stated “Even if it did happen, John probably wouldn’t have said anything." [6]

Romney response

Romney's campaign provided a statement that was published in the Washington Post that read: “The stories of fifty years ago seem exaggerated and off base and Governor Romney has no memory of participating in these incidents.”

Romney himself on May 10, 2012 offered a blanket apology for anything that might have slipped his mind. According to an interview with Brian Kilmeade on Fox Radio:

Back in high school, you know, I did some dumb things, and if anybody was hurt by that or offended, obviously, I apologize for that… You know, I don’t, I don’t remember that particular incident [laughs]… I participated in a lot of high jinks and pranks during high school, and some might have gone too far, and for that I apologize.[7][8]

In the interview Romney further stated, I certainly don't believe that I thought the fellow was homosexual.[9]

Fall out and news reports

The Washington Post originally reported that Stu White, one of Romney's friends, had “long been bothered” by the haircutting incident. The Washington Post then corrected its article by saying he had been bothered "since hearing about it several weeks ago, before being contacted by The Washington Post." without initially noting the correction.[10]

Subsequent to the articles release in the digital version on May 10th 2012 the print version the following day contained a minor change. The Washington Post, issued a statement that clarified a point in the article. They did not call this a correction, rather they termed it an "editors note." This note read:

  • Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story reported that White “has long been bothered” by the Lauber incident. White later clarified in a subsequent interview that he has been disturbed by the incident since he learned of it several weeks ago from a former classmate, before being contacted by The Washington Post. [11]

This in turn led to more details of the vetting process employed by the Washington Post. Jason Horowitz, among others, reportedly worked 3 weeks on the article and it was reviewed by David Maraniss[12]

See also


  1. Mitt Romney's prep school classmates recall pranks but also troubling incidents, Washinton Post, by Jason Horowitz, May 10, 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Horowitz, Jason (1965-06-12). "Classmates recall Romney's pranks — and darker incidents | Politics | The Seattle Times". Retrieved 2012-05-12.
  3. “I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school, and some might have gone too far, and for that I apologize.”
  4. "Former Romney Classmate Describes ‘Bullying Supreme’ – A ‘Pack of Dogs’ Who Targeted ‘Different’ Boy - ABC News". Retrieved 2012-05-11.
  5. Cohen, Richard (2011-03-17). "Romney’s too-cute apology - PostPartisan". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-05-11.
  6. Jaffe, Matthew (May 10, 2012). "Sister of Alleged Romney Target Has ‘No Knowledge’ of Any Bullying Incident". ABC News.
  7. Amy Davidson. Mitt Romney bully. The New Yorker. May 10, 2012.
  8. Romney counters notion bullied gay classmates. Fox News / AP, May 10, 2012.
  9. "'I didn’t believe he was homosexual': Mitt Romney apologizes after gay bullying report". National Post. May 10, 2012. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  10. Washington Post Romney Hit Piece Implodes by Ben Shapiro, May 11, 2011
  11. Washington Post change to Romney story wasn't a correction, Poynter, by Andrew Beaujon, May 11, 2012
  12. Mitt Romney bully story holds up to scrutiny, by Washington Post ombudsman, Patrick Pexton, published in Washington Post, May 11, 2012
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.