Joe Conason‘s report on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney‘s alleged impersonation of a police officer, profiled on Wednesday night’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, may or may not be news, but it isn’t exactly new. Conason’s reporting fleshes out a theme corroborated by a fair amount of previous reporting, including the much-buzzed-about Washington Post profile that included disturbing tales of Romney as an anti-gay high school bully. Why is this a thing now, when it was ignored just four weeks ago?
According to the new report, from NationalMemo.com, a Stanford University classmate of Romney’s named Robin Madden (and his future wife, also a classmate of Romney’s) recalls the future Massachusetts Governor confessed to a habit of dressing up in a Michigan State Police uniform (which he laid out on his bed to show them) and pulling people over using a red flashing light that he attached to his car. But Conason’s report also acknowledges that Romney’s affinity for police prankery has been reported on before:
Phillip Maxwell, a prep school buddy, told the New Republic in 2008 that Romney had pulled over students from a girls school next door to Cranbrook while wearing a police uniform as a prank. Other former classmates described Mitt as a “happy-go-lucky guy known less for his achievements and more for his pranks.”
In The Real Romney, a biography published by Boston Globe reporters Michael Kranish and Scott Helman this year,another former friend recalled how Romney had “put a siren on top of his car and chased two of his friends who were driving around with their dates.” The two friends were in on the scheme, but the girls were not. There was beer in the car trunk, according to a prearranged plan. Mitt told his two counterparts to get out of their vehicle and into his car. Then they drove off, leaving the girls behind.
“It was a terrible thing to do,” said one of his accomplices, a Cranbrook classmate named Graham McDonald.