Romney saves drowning dog, missing teen

| April 27 2012
Christopher Cook

The political left gets a lot of cover and aid from the mainstream press. They can take an assault on fundamental religious liberty launched by the Obama administration and somehow turn it into a Republican-waged “War on Women.”  They can attempt to redefine marriage to include unions that it never before has, and when social conservatives react, they are somehow able to turn it, in public perception, into a pre-emptive strike by social conservatives, looking to take away a people’s “rights.” (We can discuss the relative merits of extending marriage recognition to same-sex couples, but it is a fact that such a”right” has never existed.)

But on the dog wars, they really may have overreached.

Gubernatorial son Josh Romney told the Herald yesterday that he and brother Craig were cleaning the beach while their father puttered in the garage when the quiet night air was pierced with screams.

“We heard a whole bunch of screaming,” said Josh Romney, who immediately hopped onto his Jet Ski. “We tore out of there and my dad hopped on the other Jet Ski and came out right after us.”

Roughly 300 yards out onto the lake, six adult family members and their dog were floundering in the water, after their boat suddenly sprung a huge leak — sinking in less than 90 seconds, Josh said.

[ . . . ]

The governor pulled the two younger women aboard his three-seater Jet Ski and zoomed back to shore, while his sons helped the mother of the family onto their vehicle.

In the middle of the rescue, the governor actually took a dunking himself — thrown off the Jet Ski as one anxious boater scrambled aboard and tipped the craft off-balance.

The rescuing Romneys also managed to snatch the family dog, McKenzie, from a watery grave — grabbing the Scottish terrier first because it was the only passenger without a lifejacket.

“It looked like it wasn’t going to last much longer,” said Josh, who held the waterlogged pooch on the ride back to shore.

With Josh and Craig hovering nearby, the three men treaded water until the governor returned and made two more trips to ferry them back.

(HT: Hot Air)

The overreach isn’t just that they should have kept their yaps shut because Obama ate dog (the optics of which are terrible, even if it was long ago, because this is a Western country where that is taboo, and because it’s so easily ridiculed). The overreach has now gotten even worse for the Obama team, as stories surface like the Romney dog-rescue story.

Of course, Obama’s defenders will respond that it was Josh who actually carried the dog . . . that anyone would have done the same . . . that Romney wants old people to eat dog food, so na-na-na-na-boo-boo.

Here’s the problem. It appears that rescuing is a thing that Romney does.

“In July 1996, the 14-year-old daughter of Robert Gay, a partner at Bain Capital, had disappeared,” the story reads. “She had attended a rave party in New York City and gotten high on ecstasy. Three days later, her distraught father had no idea where she was. Romney took immediate action. He closed down the entire firm and asked all 30 partners and employees to fly to New York to help find Gay’s daughter. Romney set up a command center at the LaGuardia Marriott and hired a private detective firm to assist with the search. He established a toll-free number for tips, coordinating the effort with the NYPD, and went through his Rolodex and called everyone Bain did business with in New York and asked them to help find his friend’s missing daughter. Romney’s accountants at Price Waterhouse Cooper put up posters on street poles, while cashiers at a pharmacy owned by Bain put fliers in the bag of every shopper. Romney and the other Bain employees scoured every part of New York and talked with everyone they could – prostitutes, drug addicts – anyone.

“That day, their hunt made the evening news, which featured photos of the girl and the Bain employees searching for her. As a result, a teenage boy phoned in, asked if there was a reward, and then hung up abruptly. The NYPD traced the call to a home in New Jersey, where they found the girl in the basement, shivering and experiencing withdrawal symptoms from a massive ecstasy dose. Doctors later said the girl might not have survived another day. Romney’s former partner credits Mitt Romney with saving his daughter’s life, saying, ‘It was the most amazing thing, and I’ll never forget this to the day I die.’

“So, here’s my epiphany: Mitt Romney simply can’t help himself. He sees a problem, and his mind immediately sets to work solving it, sometimes consciously, and sometimes not-so-consciously. He doesn’t do it for self-aggrandizement or for personal gain. He does it because that’s just how he’s wired.”

We can’t speak to what this episode says about Romney’s deeper character, but we can verify the facts of the episode. In fact, we did so when this story came up during the 2008 presidential election season.

Back then, the story was circulating because of television ad created by Romney’s campaign. It featured Gay crediting Romney with helping reunite him with his daughter.

As we reported then, based on contemporary news reports, the girl sneaked away on July 6, 1996, to go to a rave party in New York City, where she took the drug Ecstasy. She had told her parents she was playing tennis.

When she didn’t return, Boston-based Bain Capital, where Romney was founder and CEO, essentially shut down to help search for Gay’s 14-year-old daughter Melissa.

Bain Capital’s 50 employees went to New York, where they convinced more than 200 other people to help search the streets for two days. They printed and passed out fliers. Romney clearly had a leading role in the company’s operations, but news reports from the time also said other Bain partners helped coordinate the search effort.

According to news reports, the teen was found in suburban New Jersey. A teen-aged boy, who took her in after her partying, called authorities late on July 11.

Lt. David Peterson of the Montville Township Police told PolitiFact four years ago that police reports do not mention Romney personally. But Peterson, as well as reports at the time, agreed that the Bain Capital search generated important attention to the case of the missing girl.

“The thing was it was a 911 caller that saw her on Channel 7 and called in,” said Peterson, who recalled waiting for the girl to be picked up from Montville police station.

Gay says Romney helped “save” his daughter, though previous reports have differed on the condition she was in. The line in the retelling now circulating — that doctors told Gay she might not have lived another day — comes from a Boston Globe report in 2002.

Newsday, for its part, reported in July 1996 that “Melissa’s parents said she was physically unharmed though she appeared ‘very fragile.’ The family’s doctor had examined the girl and pronounced her in fairly good condition. …”

“She was not harmed,” Robert Gay said at news conference after she was found, according to the New York Daily News. “She was in tears. We just gave her hugs and brought her back home.”

While Obama was writing memoirs early in his adult life (hint: most people do it later in life) and organizing people to take political action in the dirty, corrupt Chicago system, Romney was rescuing dogs, rescuing lost teens, and rescuing failing companies.

The MSM is still powerful, but they’re not as powerful as they were, and these kinds of optics matter.

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