Witnesses recall Romney-MLK march
By: Mike Allen Dec 21, 2007 05:45 PM EST
"Shirley Basore, 72, says she was sitting in the hairdresser’s chair in wealthy Grosse Pointe, Mich., back in 1963 when a rumpus started and she discovered that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and her governor, George Romney, were marching for civil rights — right past the window.
"With the cape still around her neck, Basore went outside and joined the parade.
"'They were hand in hand,' recalled Basore, a former high-school English teacher. 'They led the march. We all swung our hands, and they held their hands up above everybody else’s.'
"She remembered the late governor as 'extremely handsome.' Until this week, that was just a vivid memory for a sweet retiree who now lives in Pompano Beach, Fla.
"But Basore’s memory became important this week when news accounts questioned the recollections of the late Michigan governor’s son, Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor.
"News stories suggested that Romney was exaggerating. It turns out that he may not have attended the Grosse Pointe march, but it certainly happened.
"The campaign posted citations quoting one author as writing that 'George Romney made a surprise appearance in his shirt sleeves and joined the parade leaders.'
"Stephen Hess and David S. Broder also wrote about the march in their 1967 book, 'The Republican Establishment: The Present and Future of the G.O.P.' Basore said she was very angry about how the issue has been covered on cable television.
"'This very arrogant guy on TV questioned Mitt Romney, and I marched with them,' Basore said. 'I hope that the campaign demands an apology. I want him to publicly apologize to me. That was a personal insult, and an insult to Mitt Romney.'
"Basore said she called the campaign, and the campaign supplied her contact information.
"Another witness, Ashby Richardson, 64, of Massachusetts gave the campaign a similar account.
“'I’m just appalled that the news picks this stuff up and say it didn’t happen,' Richardson, now a data-collection consultant, said by phone. '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.'"