I don't know if Mitt Romney truly believes what he says or not. After several of the comments that I got on this story, I thought that I would post the video and ask those Romney supporters to defend this.
Tim Russert asks Mitt Romney about race and his faith. Romney supports his faith. This is good. Governor Romney could have stopped there but he didn't. He added that his father marched with Martin Luther King. His father walked out the Republican convention in part because Goldwater was not embracing civil rights. He continued that his mother was also a champion of civil rights.
Let's look at each of these points individually. First there is a claim that George Romney marched with Martin Luther King. A story in the on-line journal Politico states that several witnesses saw Martin Luther King walk hand-in-hand with then Governor George Romney. One witness, Ashby Richardson, states, "The press is being disingenuous in terms of reporting what actually happened. I remember it vividly. I was only 15 or 20 feet from where both of them were." Then there is the account by David Broder of the Washington Post and Stephen Hess in the 1967 book, The Republican Establishment: The Present and Future of the G.O.P. On the other side of the coin where are the civil rights leaders. Where is Jesse Jackson and Andrew Young? They were there, weren't they? They would know. There should also be some pictures.
The Detroit Press reports Longtime Detroit civil rights activist Arthur Johnson said Thursday he clearly recalls marching with former Gov. George Romney in a fair housing demonstration in Grosse Pointe in 1963. But Martin Luther King Jr., who led a major civil rights march down in Detroit days earlier did not attend, Johnson said.
Johnson said Romney, who died in 1995, was a stalwart on civil rights issues, but, contrary to statements made by his son and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, he cannot remember George Romney and King ever marching together. (Daily Kos and TCR have more on this. GoTV posting on Kos has some photos. The photos support the fact that George Romney and Martin Luther King didn't march together. )
It seems that Mitt was not accurate when he said that his father marched with Martin Luther King. Romney's own web site goes out of its to say that George Romney was a champion of civil rights and that he did march for civil rights causes. Romney could have said that his father marched with civil rights leaders, that would have been truthful.
Now, let's turn to the fact that George Romney walked out of the 1964 GOP convention. Mitt Romney said, "You may recall that my dad walked out of the Republican convention in 1964 in San Francisco in part because Barry Goldwater, in his speech, gave my dad the impression that he was someone who was going to be weak on civil rights." The 1964 GOP platform on civil rights - the platform promises "full implementation and faithful execution of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and all other civil rights statutes" and "improvements of civil rights statutes adequate to changing needs of our times." That sounds pretty good but the GOP did not support busing. It was called federally sponsored inverse discrimination. George Romney wrote a letter to Barry Goldwater after the 1964 election. The summary of the letter is here. Very enlightening. The more that I read that letter it seems that George Romney was a very thoughtful and principled man.
Watch the video.