Friday, December 21, 2007

Depends on what the meaning of "saw" is

Mitt Romney said on national television several times this year (including at least twice this month) that he saw his father march with Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1978, he claimed to the Boston Herald that he and his father both marched with King.

Susan Englander, assistant editor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project at Stanford University, did some research and found that while Gov. George Romney (Michigan) issued a proclamation in support of King in June 1963 for a March in Detroit, he declined to attend, saying that he did not attend political events on Sundays. He participated in a civil rights march in Grosse Pointe a few days later, but King did not attend that march.

Now, after defending the claim repeatedly, Romney has admitted yesterday that neither he nor his father marched with King--but not that he has said anything false. Instead, he says that he "saw" his father march with King in a figurative sense: "If you look at the literature, if you look at the dictionary, the term 'saw' includes being aware of in the sense I've described. ... It's a figure of speech and very familiar, and it's very common. And I saw my dad march with Martin Luther King. I did not see it with my own eyes, but I saw him in the sense of being aware of his participation in that great effort."

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