Romney first relayed the story yesterday during a stump speech in Iowa. “[I] learned about him. He talked about his life. He skied a lot. He had skied in a lot of the places I had and we had a lot of things in common,” Romney said, continuing:
You could imagine how I felt when I found out that he was one of the two former Navy SEALS killed in Benghazi on September the 11. And it touched me, obviously as I realized that this young man that I thought was so impressive had lost his life in the service of his fellow men and women.
Boston’s local NBC affiliate WHDH reported this morning that Doherty’s mother objected to Romney using the story in a campaign speech. “I don’t trust Romney. He shouldn’t make my son’s death part of his political agenda. It’s wrong to use these brave young men, who wanted freedom for all, to degrade Obama,” said Barbara Doherty. WHDH even suggested that it reached out to Romney’s campaign for comment, reporting that “there was no response from the Romney camp.”
Yet Romney used the same story in stump speech today in Ohio. Watch it:
But Romney’s not only telling the story against the wishes of Doherty’s family, he’s also mischaracterizing his encounter with the former SEAL. According to Glen Doherty’s longtime friend, Doherty said Romney had introduced himself four times in the span of less than 30 minutes, saying it was”pathetic” that Romney didn’t know the two had just met:
“He said it was very comical,” [Doherty friend Elf] Ellefsen said, “Mitt Romney approached him ultimately four times, using this private gathering as a political venture to further his image. He kept introducing himself as Mitt Romney, a political figure. The same introduction, the same opening line. Glen believed it to be very insincere and stale.” [...]
“He said it was pathetic and comical to have the same person come up to you within only a half hour, have this person reintroduce himself to you, having absolutely no idea whatsoever that he just did this 20 minutes ago, and did not even recognize Glen’s face.”
Ellefsen said it makes him “sick” that Romney is using the story out on the stump. “Glen would definitely not approve of it,” he said, adding, “He probably wouldn’t do much about it. He probably wouldn’t say a whole lot about it. I think Glen would feel, more than anything, almost embarrassed for Romney. I think he would feel pity for him.”
A Romney adviser has said that he will “respect the wishes of Mrs. Doherty” and stop recounting the story.