Sunday, September 16, 2012

Mitt Romney Dog On Roof

For those who are unaware of the incident about Mitt Romney's "Dog on the Roof", which  has drawn much criticism, here's what happened:


First of all, a few words about Mitt Romney's dog...The dog's name was Seamus. Seamus was an Irish setter. Seamus was an energetic, friendly dog and was the Romney family's first pet dog. It is generally reported that, a few years after his ride to Canada, Seamus was given to Mitt Romney's sister, Jane Romney Robinson of California, who stated: "He kept ending up at the pound. They were worried about him getting hit crossing the street. We had more space, so he could roam more freely."The dog's date of death is unknown, but Robinson claimed that Seamus lived on her farm until a "ripe old age."


Mitt Romney's "Dog on the Roof" incident:





During a 1983 family vacation, Mitt Romney drove for twelve hours with his dog Seamus on top of the car in a windshield-equipped carrier. This incident became the subject of negative media attention and political attacks on Romney in both the 2008 and the 2012 presidential election.

In June 1983, the Romney family left their Belmont, Massachusetts home on their way to Romney's parents' cottage in Beach O'Pines, Ontario for an annual vacation along the shore of Lake Huron. Seamus rode in a carrier on the roof of the family's Chevrolet Caprice station wagon for the 12 hour trip. Romney had built a windshield for the carrier to make the ride more pleasant for the dog. During the 650-mile (1,050 km) trip, Seamus defecated liquid down the windows of the car. Romney stopped at a gas station to wash the dog, the carrier and the car. With Seamus back in the carrier, the family continued on their way.


When interviewed by Chris Wallace of Fox News, Romney explained that Seamus enjoyed being in the dog carrier, an "air-tight kennel", and that he was unaware of any violations of Massachusetts law. Ann Romney, Mitt Romney's wife, has claimed that the news media exaggerated the severity of the incident, and compared traveling in the roof-top dog carrier to riding a motorcycle or riding in the bed of a pickup truck. 


During an April 2012 interview with ABC News, Diane Sawyer asked Mitt Romney about the Seamus story and if he would ever do it again. Romney replied: "Certainly not with the attention it's received", after which Sawyer quoted as saying: "You said it was the most wounding thing in the campaign so far", though it is ambiguous as to whether Romney agreed with this statement. During the same interview, Ann Romney stated that Seamus got diarrhea from eating turkey off the table before the trip and that the dog loved the crate.

 It was reported in 2007 that Ingrid Newkirk, president of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), criticized Romney regarding this incident. Responding to PETA, Romney claimed that "my dog likes fresh air".

During the 2012 U.S. Republican presidential primaries, candidate Newt Gingrich aired an anti-Romney attack ad that featured the story. While appearing on the ABC show This Week, Republican candidate Rick Santorum stated: "As far as Seamus the dog ... the issues of character are important in this election. We need to look at all those issues and make a determination as to whether that’s the kind of person (Romney) you want to be president of the United States." Santorum's view was at odds with that of Bill Wasik, senior editor of Wired Magazine: "Yet looking back on the Seamus Romney story today, what is most striking is its forgettability, how indistinguishable it seems in retrospect from the idiots’ parade of meaningless stories that came to define the (2008) campaign."

 On the other hand, journalists Mike Allen and Evan Thomas insisted that Romney did nothing unusual: Overlooked in the clucking over the incident is the fact that the dog was in a crate, probably little different from the dog kennels used to transport animals in the cold-storage compartments of airplanes. Romney had erected a barrier to shield the family pet from the wind. Romney, the family man heading to the lake, didn’t seem heartless at the time. But politics is a heartless business.

Scott Crider, owner of the website Dogs Against Romney, claimed that the incident had "struck a chord" because people "look at their own pet and say: "This is a member of my family. How can you even think about putting it on top of a car?"" Conversely, journalist Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post defended Mitt Romney's treatment of Seamus, stating: "Doesn’t the fact that Romney chose to bring the dog on the family vacation, rather than dump him in a kennel back home, suggest that he’s a dog lover, not a hater?" Neil Swidey, the Boston Globe journalist who wrote the initial article about Romney's 1983 road trip, claimed: "(Seamus) always struck me as a valuable window into how Romney operates. In everything the guy does, he functions on logic, not emotion."

A Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey proves that the "Dog on the Roof" incident affected Romney a lot! In detail, the survey found that 74% of Democrats, 66% of Independents, and 63% of Republicans consider it inhumane to put a family dog in a kennel on the roof of a car. The poll did not mention the windshield. The poll also found that 35% of voters would be less likely to vote for Romney because of the Seamus incident, whereas 55% of voters said that it would not affect how they vote. As of August 2012, New York Times columnist Gail Collins had mentioned the Romneys' car trip more than 68 times.

Responding to Democrats who emphasized the Seamus story, the conservative bloggers such as Jim Treacher drew a comparison between the Seamus incident and Barack Obama sampling dog meat as a child in Indonesia, where it is a local delicacy, as mentioned in Obama's autobiography.

It has to be noted that in August 2012, the band Devo released a single called "Don't Roof Rack Me, Bro (Seamus Unleashed)", to keep the incident in the news as the presidential campaign moves to a conclusion.


David Letterman has been giving the dog near-nightly shout-outs. There are parody Web videos, such as: "Dogs Aren’t Luggage" T-shirts and Facebook groups. ("Dogs Against Romney," which protested outside last month’s Westminster dog show, has more than 38,000 Facebook fans.) The New Yorker featured a cartoon, with Rick Santorum riding in Romney’s rooftop dog carrier, on its cover last week.

It has to be mentioned that the"Mitt Romney's Dog on the Roof" story first surfaced in the Boston Globe in a chapter of a biographical series the newspaper published in 2007, when Romney first ran for president.


To some animal lovers, the story is an example of cruelty.

According to
Scott Crider, an Alabama marketing guru who founded "Dogs Against Romney":"It really says this guy is not like us and is mean."

It appears that The Seamus Story has harmed Romney's presential election and it still does. Well, it was definitely cruel and by the way Romney reacted it seems that the incident has happened more than once...Hope that he learned his lesson and won't repeat it in the future. What do you think?

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