If you thought Mitt Romney strapping his dog Seamus to the roof of the family station wagon while driving for 12 hours to Canada in 1983 was a curious sort of incident (and a display of a crisis management style with too much “management” and scant little humanity), a recent report that Seamus ran away on reaching Canada will not surprise you. PolitickerNY‘s Hunter Walker cites a “trusted Politicker tipster” who says that “two of Mr. Romney’s sons had an off-record conversation with reporters where they revealed the dog ran away when they reached their destination on that infamous journey in 1983.”
The story of Seamus’ odyssey or, rather, ordeal was first reported in a 2007 Boston Globe article. Romney says that Seamus was placed in a “completely airtight kennel” that he was “comfortable” in. The Boston Globe reports that Romney’s oldest son, Tagg Romney, alerted his father to a “brown liquid .. dripping down the back window, payback from an Irish setter who’d been riding on the roof in the wind for hours,” whereupon Romney stopped the car at a service station, hosed down both dog and car and resumed driving. Two weeks after the Boston Globe article, Mitt Romney’s sister Jane provided a photo of the Irish setter and said that she had never heard of the riding-on-the-roof story until the Boston Globe article appeared. She also said that Seamus had been sent to live with her family in California.
Such a report of Seamus finding a home out west would belie PolitickerNY‘s latest account, that Seamus sought “asylum” in Canada. While Romney has certainly been taken to task by the likes of New York Times columnist Gail Collins and PETA — Newt Gingrich has based an attack ad entitled “For the Dogs” on the incident — he seems to have emerged relatively unscathed from “Crate-Gate.”
Perhaps the question that needs to be raised more forcefully is this: If that’s how Romney treats his pet dog — if that’s the sort of accommodations he judged as “comfortable” for Seamus — what about human beings, especially those who are not in a position to argue with him?
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Photo of an Irish setter, the same breed as Romney's Seamus, by janticom