Five of Mitt Romney's classmates at the prestigious Cranbrook prep school are talking to the media bout his anti-gay attack on a fellow student today. The story is incredibly disturbing and paints Romney as violently homophobic.
All five of the men verified the incident separately. Before Republicans start charging that this is politically motivated because one of them volunteered for Obama's campaign in 2008, it's important to note that they come from mixed political affiliations - including one who has served as Republican county chairman in Michigan.
John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn't having it.
"He can't look like that. That's wrong. Just look at him!" an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann's recollection. Mitt, the teenaged son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber's look, Friedemann recalled.
A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school's collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber's hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.
"It happened very quickly, and to this day it troubles me," said Buford, the school's wrestling champion, who said he joined Romney in restraining Lauber. Buford subsequently apologized to Lauber, who was "terrified," he said. "What a senseless, stupid, idiotic thing to do."
"It was a hack job," recalled Maxwell, a childhood friend of Romney who was in the dorm room when the incident occurred. "It was vicious."
Other students are now coming forward to talk about Romney's other anti-gay verbal attacks on gay students as well. Romney apologized for "hijinks" that "may have gone too far" this morning and claims he doesn't remember any of the incidents.